DA ‘dumb, naive’ for accepting Public Protector report – Tony Leon

Former DA leader Tony Leon
Former DA leader Tony Leon

It was “dumb” and “naive” of the DA to accept the Public Protector’s report on President Cyril Ramaphosa at face value.

Former DA leader Tony Leon said this last week during a lecture on the value of liberal political parties.

“It was a big mistake to accept Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report that Cyril Ramaphosa misled Parliament,” Leon said.

He also said this to DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

DA leader Mmusi maimane

“I can understand that they [the DA] referred the matter to the Public Protector because they had no other option.

“But to accept at face value the report from such a dishonest woman was dumb and naive,” Leon said.

In her report, Mkhwebane found that Ramaphosa was aware of the R500 000 donation from African Global Operations, formerly Bosasa, to his election campaign and that he had deliberately misled Parliament about it.

She also believed that Ramaphosa and members of his CR17 campaign were involved in money laundering. Mkhwebane found that Ramaphosa violated the ethics code for executives by not declaring the donations to his campaign.

Ramaphosa has gone to court to fight the findings.

In her report, Mkhwebane said the Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise must refer Ramaphosa’s conduct to Parliament’s ethics committee.

Shamila Batohi, head of the National Prosecuting Authority, has been asked to investigate the money laundering claims after Mkhwebane found that money was moved between accounts during the ANC leadership election campaign.

In his court papers, Ramaphosa has asked for an urgent interdict to have the implementation of remedial action – which includes him naming the donors to his campaign – set aside pending a review of the Public Protector’s findings.

Ramaphosa has questioned Mkhwebane’s understanding of the law.

Leon’s criticism follows that of former DA leader Helen Zille, who said Maimane should not have approached the Public Protector about the donations while the DA was, at the same time, calling for her (Mkhwebane’s) removal.

DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi said the party still maintains that Mkhwebane should vacate her position, but said the DA respected the office of the Public Protector and the findings must be respected until a court finds otherwise.

The Public Protector’s position is expected to be discussed at the end of this month during a meeting of the justice and correctional services portfolio committee in Parliament.

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