Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

President Cyril Ramaphosa insists that public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s decision to investigate and report on his CR17 election campaign for leadership of the ANC was illegal and must be declared invalid and set aside. He says her entire report on the R500,000 donation he received from Bosasa must be overturned.

“I submit that the public protector acted outside of her authority and lacked jurisdiction to investigate the funds which were paid into the CR17 campaign,” Ramaphosa states in court papers filed on Wednesday, adding that there is no “factual foundation whatsoever” for her finding that there was evidence the campaign may be embroiled in money-laundering.

The president also says Mkhwebane has claimed that she has evidence that he was “aware of campaign reports and donors”, despite Ramaphosa's repeated claims to the contrary, but has never shared this evidence with him or given him the chance to respond to it.

Ramaphosa has filed an urgent interdict to stop the implementation of Mkhwebane’s remedial action against him in her report on the R500,000 donation he received from corruption-accused Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson, which includes him being forced to disclose the identities of all his ANC election campaign funders.

The president wants that implementation stayed pending his legal challenge to Mkhwebane’s “fundamentally and irretrievably flawed” findings of dishonesty and alleged money-laundering against him, and his ANC election campaign.

He argues that Mkhwebane appears to have made a “superficial attempt” to consider his responses to the politically explosive findings made against him, and has failed to give him a chance to respond to the remedial action she ordered against him.