Public Protector guns for Ramaphosa

Staff Writer | Jul 20, 2019
Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found that President Cyril Ramaphosa deliberately misled Parliament when he responded to a question in November 2018 about a R500 000 donation to his 2017 ANC presidential campaign.

Mkhwebane found that Ramaphosa's actions were inconsistent with his office as deputy president at the time.

She also found that Ramaphosa breached the Executive Ethics Code by failing to disclose financial interest accrued to him as a result of the donations received for the so-called CR17 campaign. The Public Protector found that the donation should have been disclosed. Ramaphosa said he disclosed interests every year and continued to do so.

This development ups the political ante as Ramaphosa filed an urgent application this week against the Public Protector, to confirm that he had complied with remedial actions set out by Mkhwebane in her recently released report on the pension payout of Ivan Pillay.

Mkhwebane found that an early pension payment made to Pillay, when Pravin Gordhan was finance minister, was irregular. Ramaphosa said that since the nature and timing of the disciplinary action was left to his discretion, the appropriate course was to await the outcome of the court case brought by Gordhan against Mkhwebane.

Ramaphosa said he had informed Mkhwebane of an implementation plan as she had directed him to do.

Before Ramaphosa’s application, Gordhan filed an application in an urgent bid to interdict Mkhwebane's remedial actions surrounding the so-called ‘rogue unit’.

Pillay followed suit and filed an affidavit stating that he intended to pursue a review of findings against him in a Public Protector's report he says detrimentally affects him.

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) has called on the Constitutional Court to speed up a judgment on the Absa/Bankorp matter, which was heard in November 2018. In the light of these current controversies, a judgment by the ConCourt would clarify matters relating to the alleged competency and/or bias of Mkhwebane.

“Norms and Standards for the Performance of Judicial Functions”, issued by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in February 2014, states: ‘Save in exceptional cases… every effort shall be made to hand down judgments no later than three months after the last hearing.’

It recently took an inordinate amount of time to release the judgment in the matter in which the General Council of the Bar sought the disbarment of Advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi.


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