Public Protector taken aback by DA and CR17 campaign managers’ claims regarding the investigation involving the President
24 June 2019
Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane is dumbfounded at emerging claims by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the CR17 campaign managers that she was never asked to investigate allegations of money laundering in relation to the African Global Operations donation to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign for governing party presidency.
In his complaint dated 23 November 2018, DA leader Mr. Mmusi Maimane, MP, referred to the following three issues, which he said were of concern to him and thus wanted Adv. Mkhwebane to investigate:
- The possibility of an improper relationship between the President and his family on the one side, and the company African Global Operations on the other side;
- The nature of the R500 000 payment towards the CR17 campaign, passing through several intermediaries, not in accordance with a straightforward donation, thereby raising the suspicion of money laundering; and
- That the President may have lied to the National Assembly in his reply to Mr. Maimane’s question on 6 November 2018.
Adv. Mkhwebane has since met, on two occasions, with Mr. Maimane during which meetings the complaint and scope of the investigation were discussed at length and not once did Mr. Maimane raise any of these emerging issues.
This notwithstanding, in terms of the Public Protector versus Mail and Guardian case, in the so-called “Oilgate” matter, the Supreme Court of Appeal held that the Public Protector is not a passive adjudicator between citizens and the state, relying only upon evidence placed before her by the parties.
The court held further that the Public Protector should not be bound by or limited to the issues raised for consideration and determination by the parties but should investigate further and discover the truth and also inspire confidence that the truth has been discovered.
In addition to the claims by the DA and CR17 campaign managers, Adv. Mkhwebane is also concerned about the conduct of certain journalists in relation to the investigation at hand – conduct which borders on interference with the functioning of her office as contemplated in section 181(4) of the Constitution.
Issued by Public Protector Office, 24 June 2019