The public protector’s investigation of President Cyril Ramaphosa over a R500 000 donation to his 2017 ANC presidential campaign is political says ANC Chairperson Gwede Mantashe.
The donation was made by Gavin Watson, the boss of services firm African Global Operations (formerly known as Bosasa).
Speaking on the sidelines of a NEHAWU Policy Conference, Mantashe, who is also the Minister of Mineral and Energy Resources, said: “There were seven presidential candidates of the ANC. She (Busisiwe Mkhwebane) is not interested in any of them, except one. That is political.”
Mantashe said formal action must follow if Mkhwebane is seen to behaving “delinquently.”
“The [Public Protector] is a [Chapter] nine institution. If it behaves delinquently, that should be followed formally and be engaged. There are times when you think that she has occupied a political space that does not belong to her, but you must find a way of dealing with that. That is why we are in politics.”
Mantashe added: “If she is really interested to follow the question of fundraising of campaigning in the party – not in government – which I don’t think is her jurisdiction, if she has an interest in that, she would have investigated seven of them. Once you select one ,you are playing a political role.”
Mkhwebane initiated her investigation into Ramaphosa after the DA requested she probe the R500 000 donation.
The action, instituted last November, was spurred after Ramaphosa initially responded to a question from DA leader Mmusi Maimane, saying the R500 000 was a payment to his son Andile for consultancy work.
Days later, he wrote a letter to the then National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete to amend his reply, saying it was actually a donation that had been made to his ANC presidential campaign, of which he had previously been unaware.
In her preliminary report last month, Mkhwebane stated that Ramaphosa had “inadvertently” misled Parliament and had failed to declare the R500 000 donation to his 2017 ANC leadership campaign from Watson.
Meanwhile, Watson, the man behind ‘that donation’ has appeared before a SA Revenue Service (SARS) inquiry, a day after he was due to answer questions about his donation to Ramaphosa’s ANC election campaign.
Business Day has reported that Watson appeared to answer questions under oath about whether he and his company submitted accurate information to SARS about their tax affairs.
It reported that the SARS inquiry will determine whether Watson and Bosasa concealed funds from SARS and exactly how much they may owe in unpaid taxes.