While Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has denied the emails leaked to News24 – detailing correspondence regarding President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign – could have been shared from her office, the presidency has questioned the veracity of the emails and how they were obtained.
Weekend media reports claimed these were the emails Mkhwebane had relied upon to find Ramaphosa guilty of lying to parliament when claiming not to know about donations made to his campaign by state capture-linked firm Bosasa, or his son’s involvement.
But Mkhwebane’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe yesterday denied the emails leaked to News24 were those in her possession, or that she had even seen the correspondence in question.
“Should there be a requirement that the PP [public protector] file the record of the investigation in line with rule 53 of the Uniform Rules of the Court as part of the president’s review application, all that information will become public.”
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said on SABC they would not “pronounce on the authenticity of these emails”.
She continued: “Because we don’t know how they were obtained, we don’t know from where and for what purpose they have been distributed. They could have been obtained illegally.
“We are aware of instances where some of the recipients of the email would say that the emails were doctored, but that being the case we don’t want to comment on [their] authenticity.”
Diko pointed to a specific email instructing a certain Donald to pay into the fundraising account.
“Now that is true and it supports what we said to the public protector: that the president had donated some of his personal money into the campaign.
“We’ve also said to the public protector the president did attend fundraising dinners and there were times where his guidance was sought on whether to approach a certain donor or not.
“But … he was not involved in the day-to-day funding and … the president does not have a record of everybody who donated or the amounts they donated.”
Funding of campaigns is not illegal and there is no basis for the assumption that Ramaphosa was involved in money laundering.
Ramaphosa was well within his rights to approach the courts, said Diko, and added the public protector was subject to the courts, not equal to the courts.