Ramaphosa’s CR17 Campaign Paid High-Ranking Politicians Millions – Report

Riyaz Patel

Politicians, including a minister and a deputy minister, were reportedly paid millions for their role in President’s Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2017 ANC presidential campaign, the Sunday Independent reported.

The newspaper said it had seen the campaign’s bank records as well as emails and financial statements which identify the beneficiaries of the R1bn campaign fund.

Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni was, according to the newspaper, paid R5m for her role in the campaign through a company called Phore Farms Pty Ltd. Ntshavheni was the managing director Phore Farms at the time.

Deputy Minister in the Presidency Thembi Siweya was reportedly paid R2.3m; ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Enoch Godongwana was reportedly paid R400 000; while former Free State MEC Mxolisa Dukwana was reportedly paid R600 000, the Sunday Independent report added.

Some of the funders of the CR17 campaign, according to the report, included eNCA director and owner of Hosken Consolidated Investments, Johnny Copelyn, who reportedly donated R2m, while former Absa chief executive Maria Ramos reportedly donated R1m to one of the CR17 trust accounts.

Other donations made pre-conference reportedly include large sums from billionaire Nicky Oppenheimer’s family, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust board member Bobby Godsell, former Imperial Holdings chief executive Mark Lamberti, financial services company Sygnia Ltd board member Andre Crawford-Brunt, Goldman Sachs Southern African chief executive Colin Coleman and Eskom board member Sifiso Dabengwa, the Sunday Independent report added.

On Saturday evening, seemingly pre-empting the Sunday newspaper’s expose, the Presidency released a statement stating that the leaking of confidential banking information of funders to and recipients of the CR17 campaign is a breach of privacy.

Ramos has since been appointed to the board of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

“The selective circulation of this banking information is clearly intended to cast aspersions on the President, and follows the recent report of the Public Protector, in which there was a substantial focus on the funding of the CR17 campaign,” Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko said in a statement.

She said the information leaked to the media, supposedly held only by the Office of the Public Protector, includes bank statements of third parties, which record private transactions and which are strictly confidential.

“The Presidency notes with grave concern what amounts to a violation of the constitutionally enshrined right to privacy. This is all the more troubling as it seems clear that this information had been, from the first instance, obtained in an illegal manner,” the statement from the Presidency said further.

Ramaphosa has also approached the courts to seal certain documents contained in the Public Protector’s report into the CR17 campaign fund and a donation made to the fund by Bosasa boss Gavin Watson.

Ramaphosa, through a lawyer’s letter from Harris Nupen Molebatsi Inc, said certain bank statements in her report contain confidential information belonging to third parties.

The papers submitted by the President’s lawyers on Thursday suggest that some of the bank statements may have been obtained unlawfully.

Diko insists that the CR17 campaign was clean and lawful.

The Public Protector’s office maintains that her report is above board.

“The PP [Public Protector] conducted the investigation by the book. There was no [un]lawful activity,” Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said Friday.

Once filed in court, the documents become public information which would be available to everyone, Segalwe said.

It was reported last weekend that leaked emails from the CR17 campaign showed that Ramaphosa was consulted by his campaign managers on certain potential donors, despite previous denials that he was involved in the fundraising aspect of his campaign for the ANC presidency.

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