President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will be asking the courts to review the findings of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who said he “deliberately” misled parliament in saying that he did not know about the R500 000 campaign donation from corruption-implicated company Bosasa.
Though charges have yet to be laid against the management and owners of Bosasa, Mkhwebane still found that in accepting the money, Ramaphosa, who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, had facilitated money laundering.
Ramaphosa said at a press briefing on Sunday night that in finding against him, the public protector had released a report in which she concluded that he had “violated the executive ethics code and the constitution”.
He said that although the findings against him were serious, they were flawed because such findings should be “based on fact”, “have a sound legal basis”, which were “rational”, and should have been “arrived at through a fair, impartial and lawful process”.
“Unfortunately, the report released by the public protector fails to satisfy these crucial requirements”, Ramaphosa said.
He went on to say that the report contained numerous factual inaccuracies of “a material nature”, that were irrational and which, “in some instances, exceed the scope of the powers of the public protector”.
“Furthermore, in failing to provide me with an opportunity to comment on proposed remedial action, the public protector has violated provisions of the Public Protector Act, the constitution and principles of common law.”
Ramaphosa stressed that the matter was not personal against Mkhwebane but said he had to ask for an urgent review so as to “protect the rights that the constitution affords me as a person, but also to preserve the integrity of the office that I occupy”.
He went on to say: “I am taking this action in the firm belief that the president is not above the law, and nor is the public protector.”