Court rules in Ramaphosa's favour, grants interdict against Public Protector's remedial action

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President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gallo Images)
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gallo Images)

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has granted President Cyril Ramaphosa an interim interdict to stay Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's remedial action stemming from her investigation into a R500 000 donation to his ANC presidential campaign. 

Mkhwebane did not oppose Ramaphosa's application for interim relief. The order was granted by agreement between Mkhwebane and Ramaphosa's legal representatives.  

In her report, Mkhwebane came to the conclusion that there was merit to allegations of money laundering, based on the facts before her.

Mkhwebane detailed how the R500 000 donation by Bosasa's Gavin Watson made its way to the CR17 trust account, noting that it went through several intermediaries before landing in Ramaphosa's campaign fund.

READ MORE | Ramaphosa vs Mkhwebane: PP insists Bosasa report is above board as president flags 'unlawful' activity

She also found that just over R191m was transferred into the CR17 account between December 2016 and January 2018.

Around the same amount was transferred out of the account during the same period, Mkhwebane said.

She added that three amounts of around R31m, R39m, and more than R51m were transferred by the same donor into the CR17 account.

"In conclusion, on the above revelations relating to the exchanges of large sums of money, some of which [was] received from private companies, I wish to express my preliminary view that such a scenario, when looked at carefully, creates a situation of the risk of some sort of state capture by those donating these monies to the campaign," Mkhwebane said.

Ramaphosa then decided to take Mkhwebane's report, in which it was found that he had violated the executive code of ethics, on urgent judicial review.

#RamaphosavsPublicProtector Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has granted President Cyril Ramaphosa an interim interdict to stay adv Mkhwebane's remedial action on Bosasa report pending review. Court adjourned. @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/3aewZptpxe

News24 previously revealed that leaked emails from the CR17 campaign showed that Ramaphosa was consulted by his campaign managers on certain potential donors, despite consistent denials that he was involved in the fundraising efforts of the campaign.

The emails obtained by News24 formed part of Mkhwebane’s report into complaints by the DA and EFF over a response given by Ramaphosa to DA leader Mmusi Maimane in Parliament in November 2018.

Maimane asked about a supposed payment to the president’s son, Andile, from corruption-accused company Bosasa.

READ MORE | CR17 was run as a clean campaign, says Presidency amid leaking of funders' names

But it turned out, the payment mentioned by Maimane was actually a donation to the CR17 campaign by Watson – which Ramaphosa himself revealed in a letter to the speaker of Parliament.

On Friday, it emerged that Ramaphosa had approached the Gauteng High Court in a bid to have certain bank statement in her report sealed and not made available to the public.

His spokesperson Khusela Diko told News24 that some of the documents belonged to private entities and, on that basis, should remain confidential.

"It is our view that the documents are unrelated to the complaint the Public Protector was investigating and were or may have been obtained unlawfully."

Since she improperly broadened her investigation into what are private entities not subject to her purview it is only appropriate that their privacy be protected as the law allows," said Diko.

Segalwe, however, said the investigation was above board.

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