CR17 bank statements: Mkhwebane loses bid to probe Ramaphosa
Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s bid to probe the ‘CR17 bank statements’ saga has suffered a huge blow.
On Thursday, Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane was dealt a further blow when the fully benched Constitutional Court threw out her appeal to force an investigation into the infamous CR17 bank statements.
Ramaphosa vindicated in CR17 bank statements saga
The apex court, after more than seven months of deliberations, concurred with a March 2020 ruling upheld by the North Gauteng High Court which determined that Mkhwebane had no basis to launch a probe into the president’s 2017 fundraising campaign.
The highest court on the land maintained the prevailing ruling which is that Mkhwebane misinterpreted the Executive Members Ethics Code when, in her report, she determined that Ramaphosa had ‘deliberately’ misled Parliament in his response to former Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane’s R500 000 Bosasa donation.
“The majority judgment penned by [Judge] Jafta… held that the Public Protector misconceived the Code by by holding that the President’s acknowledgment that he gave an incorrect answer in Parliament was enough for the conclusion that he had violated the Code,” the ConCourt explained in a press statement that was released shortly after the hearing.
Moreover, the apex court lambasted Mkhwebane’s malicious intentions in changing the wording in paragraph 2.3(a) of the Code, from ‘wilfully’ to ‘inadvertent’, to support her argument that Ramaphosa had ‘deliberately’ misled Parliament.
The ConCourt also set aside Mkhwebane’s claims that the president had, according to evidence gathered in her report, personally benefitted from the CR17 campaign or that Ramaphosa was embroiled in a money laundering scam.
Is this the end of the road for Mkhwebane?
You will remember that in 2018, former Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane had blew a proverbial gasket in a National Assembly sitting when he revealed that Ramaphosa’s son, Andile, was the recipient of a R500 000 payment from late Bosasa (now operating as Africa Global Operations) CEO Gavin Watson.
In response to this, the president had, without much pondering, noted that he was aware of such a payment and that it was a settlement by AGO on services provided by Andile in his capacity as a consultant.
A week later, Ramaphosa would make a u-turn in a letter drafted and sent to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, admitting that he had erred in his response to Maimane. As a matter of fact, the R500 000 donation was a campaign donation Watson had made to his 2017 ANC presidential campaign.
This backtracking prompted Maimane and EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu to launch a probe into the president’s conduct, which resulted in Mkhwebane’s CR17 report that, as of Thursday, has been thrown out as null and void.
The only silver lining to Mkhwebane’s bad outing was the minority support she received from one of the judges on the panel — Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng who, in his learned opinion, determined that “financial assistance from individual donors and even the composite amount from the CR17 campaign constituted a personal benefit to the president and created a situation that involved a risk of conflict between the president’s private interests, his pursuit of the ANC presidency with the assistance of private donors, and his official responsibility as Deputy President of the Republic.”
At the time this article was published, Mkhwebane had not issued a response to the judgment.