Ramaphosa email leak 'an attempt to undermine public confidence in the president' - ANC

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gulshan Khan, AFP)
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gulshan Khan, AFP)

The ANC has released a statement saying it is of the view that leaked emails from President Cyril Ramaphosa's successful 2017 ANC presidential campaign is an attempt to undermine public confidence in him.

"The ANC is not aware of any acts of illegality on the part of a campaign conducted by any leader of the ANC, including President Ramaphosa. The leaked emails are therefore nothing but a calculated manoeuvre to defocus and detract from the immediate task of socio-economic issues and dealing with the challenges of our economy.

"This is also an attempt to undermine public confidence in President Ramaphosa whose leadership has been defined by moral and ethical conduct," party spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement on Tuesday.

Over the weekend, News24 published a report that poked holes in Ramaphosa's claim he knew nothing about his campaign funding during the build-up to the ANC's 2017 national elective conference, where he was elected party president. 

Leaked emails that News24 obtained showed Ramaphosa was consulted by his campaign managers on certain potential donors, despite consistent denials from his team that he was not involved in any fundraising efforts.

The leaked emails formed part of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report into DA and EFF complaints about a response Ramaphosa had given to DA leader Mmusi Maimane in Parliament in November 2018.

READ: ANALYSIS: Ramaphosa's donors are hanging him out to dry

Maimane asked about a supposed payment to the president's son, Andile, from corruption-accused company Bosasa (now African Global Operations).

But it turned out the payment Maimane mentioned was actually a donation to Ramaphosa's campaign for the party presidency from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson, which Ramaphosa himself revealed in a letter to the speaker of Parliament.

Mkhwebane found Ramaphosa had deliberately misled Parliament over the donation and in reaching her conclusion, she relied on the emails.

Ramaphosa indicated he intended to challenge the report in court.

The governing party said it had reflected on its methodologies for campaigning as well as funding at a NEC meeting, which took place from July 26 to 29, and resolved to look into how these processes might be better managed in future.

"To date, the ANC has not had a policy on how to deal with internal campaign mechanisms or the raising of monies by individual members or groupings involved in such efforts. The NEC held over the weekend is also of the view that a thorough discussion is necessary on this matter for clarity," Mabe explained.

He added the ANC had noted the public interest with regards to funding campaigns ahead of the 54th national conference and commended the president for being transparent about these matters.

"The ANC welcomes the actions taken by President Ramaphosa who has acted openly and transparently by providing a detailed account to the Public Protector on these matters.

"In discharging his leadership responsibilities, President Ramaphosa has always placed reliance on the counsel he gets from his party, the African National Congress," Mabe said.

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