The presidency has come out strong against the confidential banking information of contributors and recipients involved in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency which has been leaked to the media.
In a statement, President Ramaphosa’s office said it’s gravely concerned over “what amounts to a violation of the constitutionally enshrined right to privacy.”
The information, the statement said, which was supposed to be held only by the Public Protector, includes bank statements of third parties which record private transactions and which are strictly confidential.
President Ramaphosa’s legal representatives have meanwhile petitioned the Gauteng High Court to seal certain financial information contained in Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s investigation into allegations against Ramaphosa.
This request is pending a determination on whether the information was obtained lawfully and whether it was legally sourced in relation to the complaint under investigation.
It should be noted that, should the request be granted, nothing prevents the court from deciding, once it has established the lawfulness of the source of documents and the appropriateness of it being included in the record, that some or all of the information should be made public.
“The selective circulation of this banking information is clearly intended to cast aspersions on the President, and follows the recent report of the Public Protector, in which there was a substantial focus on the funding of the CR17 campaign,” the statement added.
“Neither the president nor the campaign has done anything wrong, ethically or legally. It is a common and accepted practice in South Africa and across the world for parties and candidates to raise funding from donors for campaigns,” it continued.
The CR17 campaign team and the candidate (Ramaphosa) agreed from the outset that this should be a clean campaign that operated within the necessary legal prescripts and in line with the values and principles of their organisation, the statement said further.
“It was agreed that the campaign would raise funds from private individuals who supported the effort to restore the integrity and cohesion of the ANC and to put South Africa back on a path of growth and transformation, with an explicit understanding that their contribution would earn them no special favours or undue advantage.”
Funds were raised from a broad cross-section of South African society, sometimes with the help of supportive individuals who had access to various networks.
More than a hundred individuals made contributions to the campaign on a confidential basis.
“As the President had indicated in both the response to the Section 7(9) notice from the Public Protector as well as in his founding affidavit to the court, the funds were utilised to support a range of campaign activities including mobilisation, communication, research, security, administration, logistical support (travel and accommodation) as well as stipends and salaries.
The statement concluded with President Ramaphosa assuring the South African public that the CR17 was run as a clean campaign and in the spirit of some of this country’s rich democratic traditions – accountability, honesty and integrity.