Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Ramaphosa’s CR17 bank statements remain sealed after EFF’s appeal fails

The EFF's leave to appeal application has been dismissed with costs.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has suffered a blow in its bid to expose the bank statements of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 bank statements.

On Wednesday, the Pretoria High Court dismissed the EFF’s leave to appeal application with costs.

The EFF challenged the high court’s July 2021 judgment that blocked the unsealing of the bank records relating to Ramaphosa’s 2017 ANC presidential campaign.

ALSO MORE: Mogoeng says Ramaphosa should have disclosed CR17 campaign donors

The Red Berets, in its papers, had argued that the court was wrong to conclude that the party had failed to show it had any right to access the bank statements.

Delivering his judgment, Judge Cassim Sardiwalla ruled that the case had no prospect of success.

“I have considered the merits of the application and given the nature of this application, I am satisfied that there are no prospects of success if the matter was dealt with by a different court. Therefore, the application is dismissed with costs,” the judge said on Wednesday.

Despite the ruling, the EFF can still petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

Executive Ethics Code

The EFF’s legal defeat comes after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) last month ruled that the Executive Ethics Code was unlawful and invalid.

On 20 September, the ConCourt upheld the Pretoria High Court’s December 2021, which ordered that the Act was unconstitutional because ministers, deputy ministers, and MECs were not required to disclose publicly donations made to their internal political party campaigns.

READ MORE: ConCourt rules Executive Ethics Code is unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid

The high court had ordered that the Act’s declaration of invalidity “shall have no retrospective effect and shall be suspended for a period of 12 months to allow for the defect to be corrected”.

This meant that the source of the CR17 campaign would remain undisclosed.

The case, brought by investigative journalism unit amaBhungane, arose from a legal battle concerning Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report into CR17.

Public Protector case

In July 2021, the ConCourt had dismissed Mkhwebane’s application for leave to appeal.

The Public Protector had approached the ConCourt after her CR17 report was set aside in March 2020.

Mkhwebane found in the 2019 report that Ramaphosa had deliberately misled Parliament and recommended an investigation by the police into possible money-laundering.

However, the ConCourt majority judgment held that no law authorised Mkhwebane to investigate the private affairs of political parties. 

The apex court also concluded Ramaphosa did not deliberately mislead Parliament about donations.

Mkhwebane’s rescission application on the previous ConCourt judgment was also dismissed in March this year.

NOW READ: Another day, another legal defeat for Mkhwebane

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