Published: Sun, July 21, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

South Africa's president accused of misleading Parliament

South Africa's president accused of misleading Parliament

The accusation against Ramaphosa came at the end of a week in which Jacob Zuma, his predecessor as president, had been called to testify before a high-level inquiry into government corruption.

Addressing supporters at the Pieter Roos Park Zuma seemed unbowed and declared, "Some say this old man is angry... But if people now want me to uproot them, I will".

In her bombshell report, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane also found that there was "merit" in the suspicion of money laundering, because the payment passed through "several intermediaries, instead of a straight donation towards the CR17 campaign". Ramaphosa is on a drive to clean up politics, and analysts say that if the inquiry fails to link Zuma to serious wrongdoing, it could dent the president's credibility.

South Africa's ethics watchdog on Friday said President Cyril Ramaphosa misled Parliament a year ago over a 500,000 rand ($36,000) donation to his campaign fund from a company facing extensive corruption allegations.

It's in light of this, she has referred evidence which revealed almost a billion rand being channelled through several accounts linked to Ramaphosa's campaign to the authorities for further investigation.

'This report will add to the (pro-Zuma) faction's plans to neutralise and remove Ramaphosa, as they are threatened by his anti-corruption campaign, Jonker said.

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But shortly after, the judge said Mr Zuma had agreed to provide written statements and then return to the inquiry at a later date.

The opposition complained to the corruption watchdog last November that Ramaphosa had misled the parliament and violated the executive ethics code regarding a donation made to his son by Gavin Watson, CEO of services company Bosasa, for his campaign to lead the African National Congress (ANC). In the corruption scandal popularly referred to as 'state capture, he is alleged to have overseen mass looting of public assets during his nine-year tenure. Mkhwebane's office has said that some of the criticism is aimed at undermining her investigations. She has denied that.

The ANC also welcomed Ramaphosa's decision to study the public protector's report before deciding on his course of action going forward, which may include and but not limited to judicial review.

The prosecutor's allegations are a severe blow to Ramaphosa, who has been pursuing anti-corruption measures since assuming office.

Separately on Friday, Zuma abruptly cut short his appearance at the state inquiry and his lawyers said the former president would no longer participate. He denied that he had done anything unlawful with his friends the Guptas, three Indian-born businessmen who won lucrative state contracts during Zuma's time in power, repeating: "I know nothing". Zuma had used the allegations, which have been intensely disputed, to oust Gordhan from the position of finance minister.

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