President Cyril Ramaphosa did nothing illegal while fundraising for his CR17 campaign, Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko has said.
She was reacting to weekend headlines dominated by leaked emails which suggest Ramaphosa knew the funders of his CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency.
News24 reported that it’s in possession of several emails from inside the Ramaphosa campaign showing that the president was consulted by the managers of his campaign about plans to approach several donors, including a Greek shipping tycoon with links to the arms deal and a politically connected “socialite” previously suspected of smuggling millions of rands of gold out of the country.
“We’re also quite as well perturbed by the narrative that is being built around these emails.
Yes, we appreciate that South Africans have perhaps a legitimate right to want to know who funded the campaign but there was no obligation on the part of the President or the campaign to release that particular information,” Diko said.
Diko said the Public Protector never furnished the president with copies of the emails she referred to in her report, yet emails were now surfacing in the media.
“So, it’s very curious that after that report is published, emails – which I assume were obtained illegally – are now distributed. We trust that when she puts her record to the court, we will know which emails she is referring to,” she added.
The correspondence suggests Ramaphosa was in the loop about campaign fundings for his ANC presidency, contrary to his previous assertion that he was not involved in sourcing money for the campaign.
Political analyst and constitutional expert Professor Shadrack Gutto believes Ramaphosa must apologise to the nation for the ongoing controversy regarding the funders of his CR17 campaign.
Gutto said for Ramaphosa to find peace, he must apologise and withdraw his court challenge to review public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report into the matter.
“Also, he actually has to remove the court action which he was taking against the public protector, questioning her findings that he may have broken the constitution and did not abide by executive ethics code.”
This course of action is adverse for the president, Gutto said.
“I am no legal adviser for the president, but I would say the president has reached a position where he ought to apologise to the nation,” said Gutto.
Gutto said the Ramaphosa leaks should serve as an opportunity to expose the gaps in the electoral system for political office in the country.
He believes the focus should not only be on Ramaphosa, but rather that a fully-fledged inquiry must be established to probe the funding of individuals and political parties.
“It raises a lot of questions, and I think it is something that should apply to all the other candidates who competed for political positions within their parties in the run-up to the elections. It should not be limited only to him,” Gutto added.