Mkhwebane strikes; Ramaphosa hits back – Bosasa stuck in the middle

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane seems to enjoy making hay on Fridays. Two weeks ago she dropped the report on Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, in which she alleged he violated the Ethics Code, as well as maladministration, corruption and improper conduct when at SARS. On which she ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa to act. Ramaphosa has said the courts will determine what happens with those allegations, but it seems this didn’t sit well with the Public Protector as she’s now alleged that Ramaphosa broke the Ethics Code. This violation is based on his parliamentary response to a R500,000 campaign payment from Bosasa. The trouble here is, given Mkhwebane’s history, not only her apparent associations with the Zuptoids, but also the number of cases she’s seen thrown out by the courts. So what can taxpayers take with a pinch of salt, and what can they really trust? One thing we do know, the rand lost around 0.7% of value against the dollar after the report was released. The full document has been embedded below, alongside President Ramaphosa’s response, you be the judge. – Stuart Lowman

Ramaphosa broke Ethics Code, South African graft ombudsman says

By Amogelang Mbatha and Mike Cohen

(Bloomberg) – South Africa’s anti-graft ombudsman ruled that President Cyril Ramaphosa violated the constitution and executive ethics code when he misled lawmakers about a campaign donation from a company implicated in paying bribes to senior government officials. The rand fell.

The ruling by the Public Protector against a sitting president is unprecedented, and starkly illustrates the challenges Ramaphosa has faced in bedding down political control since he succeeded Jacob Zuma as leader of the deeply divided ruling African National Congress in 2017. The president has said he didn’t know about a R500,000 ($36,000) payment services company Bosasa made to his campaign to win control of the ANC, inadvertently failed to disclose it and rectified his mistake as soon as possible.

Also read: Cyril Ramaphosa: Public Protector report flawed, seeking judicial review

The rand weakened as much as 0.7% to 13.9441 against the dollar after the ruling was given, while yields on benchmark 2026 government bonds reversed a decline to rise three basis points to 8.01%.

The president “deliberately misled parliament in that he should have allowed himself sufficient time to research a well-informed response,” Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane told reporters in Pretoria, the capital. She referred the breach to parliament to take action, ordered Ramaphosa to disclose within 30 days details of all the donations he received and directed the police to investigate whether those who paid the donation were guilty of money laundering.

Ramaphosa has yet to receive the report and is unable to comment at this stage, his spokeswoman Khusela Diko said in a text message (Ramaphosa’s response has been embedded below).

The courts have overturned several of Mkhwebane’s previous rulings and rebuked her for failing to stick to her constitutional mandate. Other critics have accused Mkhwebane, who served in the state security agency during the tenure of former President Jacob Zuma, of playing politics and siding with the Ramaphosa’s opponents in a power struggle in the ruling party. She denies the allegations and says some of the criticism is aimed at undermining her investigations.

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