Ramaphosa Q&A: Maimane wants to ask urgent question on ministers' CR17 campaign work

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gallo Images/Sowetan/Esa Alexander)
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gallo Images/Sowetan/Esa Alexander)

DA leader Mmusi Maimane wants an urgent question relating to President Cyril Ramaphosa's ANC presidency campaign funding to be added to the questions for Thursday's hotly anticipated question and answer session in the National Assembly.

On Wednesday, Maimane wrote to National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise to ask her to add the question in terms of the rules that allow urgent questions.

The question is: "Whether the appointments of Ms K P S Ntshavheni to the position of Minister of Small Business Development, Ms R T Siweya to the position of Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Mr F Mbalula to the position of Minister of Transport and Mr Z Kodwa to the position of Deputy Minister of State Security were informed in any way by the fact that both worked for, and received payment from his CR17 campaign?"

This, after leaked information related to Ramaphosa's campaign funding revealed that the ministers and deputy ministers reportedly received payment from the campaign.

In his letter to Modise, Maimane wrote: "This news broke in the Sunday Independent and City Press on Sunday 18 August while the deadline for written questions submission was yesterday 20 August at 12h00. We were therefore not able to submit a question before the deadline and because this relates directly to the president's constitutional powers that may have been influenced, this matter is urgent. It is vital that this question be answered in tomorrow's oral question session in Parliament."

"This suggests that the president may have bought the loyalty of ministers Ntshavheni and Siweya in order to become ANC and later SA president in exchange for appointing them to his Cabinet. This raises serious questions as to the president's impartiality in appointing these individuals to his Cabinet and may very well infringe on Section 83(b) of the Constitution."

He also noted that what was before the court was a separate matter and "this issue can therefore not be said to be sub judice".

"This raises great concern as to whether President Ramaphosa acted impartially and rationally when he appointed such individuals, and wasn't repaying them for work done in the bid to get him elected," Maimane said in a statement.

"In the matter of The President of the RSA v DA & others (664/17) [2018] ZASCA 79, the court was clear in its assertion that an executive decision must be rational and as such, the president must be able to supply rational reasons for the appointment of members of his Cabinet.

"Therefore, the president needs to use his first oral question session for the 6th Parliament to clarify to the people of South Africa and unequivocally state whether these individuals' payment for work on his campaign is related – in any way whatsoever - to his decision to appoint them as ministers."

Two questions about the campaign funding are already among the six questions that will be posed to Ramaphosa on Thursday - one by Maimane and the other by EFF leader Julius Malema.

Maimane will ask whether Ramaphosa intends to institute a "full-scale, independent inquiry, headed by a retired judge to be selected by the chief justice" - much like the Zondo commission - that will focus on Africa Global Operations (AGO), the company formerly known as Bosasa and "further investigate all allegations of state capture" that involve the company.

Bosasa boss Gavin Watson donated R500 000 to Ramaphosa's CR17 campaign, and Ramaphosa's answer to a previous question by Maimane on this matter last year, is ground zero for the current revelations about the campaign's funding.

Malema will ask for details of people in the Presidency and Cabinet who were involved with his fundraising, and for the details of funders he met at various fundraising dinners held for the campaign.

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