It appears that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s investigation of Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC campaign finances are deepening divisions with the ANC-led alliance, with the South African Communist Party (SACP) saying it will not be drawn into a “one-sided focus on the fundraising details of the leadership contest associated with the last conference of the ANC.”
The SACP was responding to leaked emails purportedly containing details of contributors to Ramaphosa’s ANC election campaign, and which forms part of Mkhwebane’s report on the president.
“It would be appropriate for ANC members and the public at large to receive a full disclosure of the sources of all the funds that were donated, received and used in the course of the contest, regardless of candidates involved,” the SACP said in a statement.
The Party maintains that Ramaphosa acted “openly and transparently” by providing a detailed account to the Public Protector on these matters.
“To this extent, and taking into account the fact that leadership contest at the last national conference of the ANC did not involve one side only, there can be no other conclusion than that the so-called leak is a deliberate function of a wider politically motivated agenda,” the SACP statement continued.
The SACP, agreeing with the ANC, characterised the leaked emails as “an attempt to undermine public confidence in President Ramaphosa.”
“The issue of party funding both for individuals and their parties must be comprehensively addressed by Parliament, the SACP said, adding that “all MPs are direct beneficiaries of the funds donated to their different parties to support their election as MPs, over and above their respective congress or conference donations.”
Meanwhile, the hashtag #RamaphosaMustFall was trending on Twitter as news broke that Ramaphosa was granted an interdict, suspending Mkhwebane’s remedial action stemming from her investigation into the R500 000 Bosasa donation to his ANC presidential campaign.
Financial information and transactions related to Ramaphosa’s campaign were leaked last week alleging who donated and benefited from the CR17 campaign.
Some of the funders of the CR17 campaign, according to the Sunday Independent report, included eNCA director and owner of Hosken Consolidated Investments, Johnny Copelyn, who reportedly donated R2m, while former Absa chief executive Maria Ramos reportedly donated R1m to one of the CR17 trust accounts.
Other donations made pre-conference reportedly include large sums from billionaire Nicky Oppenheimer’s family, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust board member Bobby Godsell, former Imperial Holdings chief executive Mark Lamberti, financial services company Sygnia Ltd board member Andre Crawford-Brunt, Goldman Sachs Southern African chief executive Colin Coleman and Eskom board member Sifiso Dabengwa, the expose added.
Mkhwebane said in her report: “On the revelations relating to the exchanges of large sums of money, some of which [was] received from private companies, I wish to express my preliminary view that such a scenario, when looked at carefully, creates a situation of the risk of some sort of state capture by those donating these monies to the campaign.”
ANC Deputy Secretary-General, Jessie Duarte, conceded that an absence of clear internal party funding guidelines has created ambiguity.
The SACP said in light of what has been happening, “it would be in the best interests of the ANC and our movement as a whole to consider regulating funding for internal leadership campaigns as strongly argued by the President himself prior to and at the last NEC meeting.”
Public hearings conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on the Political Party Funding Act are currently underway.
The ANC has, however, already warned that the act should not over-regulate political funding as that could discourage private donations.
The Political Party Funding Act seeks to provide for and regulate the public and private funding of political parties and to regulate disclosure of donations received, amongst its key objectives.