- Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has confirmed her office is probing an executive ethics complaint against President Cyril Ramaphosa.
- Suspended ANC MP Mervyn Dirks approached her office to lodge the complaint.
- Earlier this month, the ANC suspended Dirks after he wrote to Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa to ask that Ramaphosa be investigated.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has confirmed her office is probing an executive ethics complaint against President Cyril Ramaphosa amid allegations of public fund misappropriation against the ANC, which surfaced in a leaked audio recording.
In a short statement on Thursday, Mkhwebane's spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said her office was the only accountability institution empowered under the Executive Members' Ethics Act to enforce executive ethics.
"The Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) wishes to confirm that a complaint, in which a Member of Parliament has alleged a breach of the Executive Code of Ethics against the President, reached the office late afternoon on Wednesday. The complaint was lodged in terms of the Executive Members Ethics Act 82 of 1998. The PPSA has been inundated with queries about the complaint since the sitting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) earlier in the week," Segalwe said.
Dirks' complaint arises from an audio clip in which someone who sounds like Ramaphosa can be heard admitting that he was aware that the ANC has used public funds for party purposes. The person suggested that the funds came from the State Security Agency (SSA).
Dirks wrote to Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa to ask that Ramaphosa be investigated. The ANC suspended Dirks for this. He took the matter to court, and it was dismissed. He was admitted to the Scopa meeting despite his suspension.
In accordance with a legal opinion it obtained, Scopa will, through a written response from Ramaphosa, also seek to establish whether and how the alleged unauthorised expenditure was captured in financial statements.
It also wanted to establish whether the alleged unauthorised transactions were detected by the Auditor-General when auditing the SSA's books.
If this is not established, it should be determined whether any officials misrepresented facts in the financials.
Scopa will also find out which individuals benefitted from the funds and whether the unauthorised expenditure was reported.
If it was not reported, the committee will also try to determine if there was any conduct that constituted a misrepresentation by any individual and where the gaps were that allowed the misconduct to go unpunished.
Segalwe said the Public Protector should investigate any alleged breach of the code on receipt of a complaint by the president or an MP if the complaint is against a Cabinet member or a deputy minister.
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