The Constitutional Court has found that the Public Protector’s finding that President Cyril Ramaphosa sought to enrich himself and family with the donations made to his 2017 ANC Presidency campaign does not hold water as both the president and his son did not know about the donation.
The court also says Mkhwebane was wrong in fact and law in her finding that Ramaphosa had lied to Parliament on the R500 000 donation to the CR17 campaign.
“There was no shred of evidence that the President and his son were involved the funds of the CR17 Campaign. There is evidence that they were involved. The President didn’t directly benefit of the campaign funds,” said Justice Chris Jafta, while delivering the ruling.
He said the Public Protector didn’t have the powers to investigate the matter.
The Public Protector Act does not empower the Public Protector to look into the affairs of private political parties. She is mandated to look into state matters, according to the Concourt.
Justice Jafta says Mkhwebane should not have even entertained the issue of money laundering in her investigation into the CR17 campaign.
He says political leaders, Musi Maimane and Julius Malema, in their complaints to Mkhwebane did not mention breach of the Executive Ethics Code by the president.
Yet, Mkhwebane in her July 2019 report looked into the matter. Jafta say the PP cannot go into issues not in complaints.
“The public protector called for bank records of the EFG Bank account, which showed an amount of over 100 million rans were made into several beneficiaries. The PP admitted that she has not authenticated the hard copies of e-mails sent to her. “Those e-mails appeared for the first time in the public protector’s final report,” says Jafta.
In the 2019 report, Mkhwebane found Ramaphosa had deliberately mislead MPs and recommended he be investigated by the Speaker and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
In March 2020, the High Court in Pretoria declared Mkhwebane’s decision to investigate and her subsequent report on Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign invalid, and set it aside.
The Apex Court says the High Court’s decision was correct.