Pay your own legal fees in battle with Public Protector, Maimane tells Ramaphosa

2019-07-03 12:21
DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane. ( Picture: Tebogo Letsie)

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In anticipation of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane releasing her report on President Cyril Ramaphosa, DA leader Mmusi Maimane has warned the president not to use state resources to fight it should she find against him.

City Press on Sunday reported that Ramaphosa's camp was anticipating an adverse finding and was discussing a possible court review.

This after an initial report, which was leaked to the media last month, found that Ramaphosa had "inadvertently" misled Parliament and had failed to declare the R500 000 donation to his 2017 ANC leadership campaign from former Bosasa chief executive officer Gavin Watson.

The Public Protector is investigating whether Ramaphosa wilfully misled Parliament. 

Pay legal fees from your own pocket 

In his letter dated July 3, Maimane said South Africans could not be expected to pay the legal bill for the president to defend himself against allegations of corruption, abuse of power, and money laundering. Maimane has given Ramaphosa until Friday to respond.

"We contend that Ramaphosa would be required by law to pay for such legal action from his own pocket, as he would be litigating in his personal capacity," he said.

Maimane said he was seeking an "unequivocal undertaking that you do not intend and you will not use the service of the state attorney or that you will cause the state attorney to pay legal practitioners on your behalf relating to the above subject matter".

Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations (AGO), has been embroiled in a number of corruption scandals, after its former COO Angelo Agrizzi opened a Pandora's box of allegations of bribery involving several senior ANC members in his testimony before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture in March.

Ramaphosa backtracks on Bosasa 

In November, Ramaphosa told the National Assembly that his son had received money from Bosasa for services rendered in terms of a consultancy contract. He told Parliament then that he had seen this contract.

Ramaphosa's son Andile has continued to reveal details of his business relationship with the controversial company, Bosasa, from which his own company received R2m.

Ramaphosa later backtracked in a letter to then-speaker Baleka Mbete, saying the R500 000 payment from Bosasa was actually a donation to his ANC presidential campaign, which he had been unaware of.

Courts found Zuma must pay in his personal capacity 

Maimane used an example from a court judgment against former president Jacob Zuma which found that the State attorney was wrong to cover Zuma's legal expenses in a matter that was allegedly committed by Zuma in his private capacity

"South Africa is fast running out of money. We cannot afford to hand millions of rands to the president to fight his personal legal battles... The Public Protector is also probing possible money laundering. It is our view that the donation was not made to the president as then deputy president, but rather as a private citizen in pursuit of elected office in the ANC," Maimane said.

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Read more on:    busisiwe mkhwebane  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  mmusi mai­mane  |  anc  |  bosasa  |  public protector
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