Sunday World reports that a Western Cape ANC member has filed a court challenge against President Cyril Ramaphosa and his CR17 campaign team in a bid to have the 2017 ANC leadership elective conference at Nasrec declared invalid.
Similar challenges have been brought in the past against the conference’s outcomes, without success.
Now, Lubabalo Sanqela from Gugulethu has reportedly argued in court papers that Ramaphosa’s campaign team allegedly violated the ANC’s constitution by collecting an alleged R1 billion from donors and using that money to improperly influence the outcomes of the conference, including the most important one that saw Ramaphosa ascend to the presidency instead of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Reports about the amount of R1 billion are heavily contested by Ramaphosa, his lawyers and supporters, while the figure is often quoted by his detractors.
Sanqela claimed there were “irregularities, vote buying and the creation of nonexistent branches” at and prior to the Nasrec conference.
He referenced an alleged confession from a Free State ANC branch member about the creation of fake branches in that province. Deputy president in the ANC David Mabuza has in the past also been accused of overseeing similar practices in Mpumalanga.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the ANC would oppose the court challenge.
In August, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the issue about CR17 campaign funds was indeed a “huge issue” in the ANC, and it would be discussed and examined.
She, however, called allegations that Ramaphosa had “bought his way into the ANC” ridiculous. But if he had used money to buy votes, that would be a problem, she conceded.
As for allegations that Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign had attracted as much, or even more money, Duarte said that was untrue, since she had been part of that campaign and they had “struggled” financially, with even the buying of T-shirts supposedly a challenge.
In August, the presidency also slammed the fact that banking information supposedly held only by the public protector, including bank statements of third parties that recorded private transactions and which were “strictly confidential”, had been leaked to the media.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane suggested in her report, which was promptly taken on review by the president, that Ramaphosa’s campaign may have been given more than R400 million by donors, though Ramaphosa’s legal papers allege she massively miscalculated the funding since she allegedly got the opening dates of the accounts wrong and did not take account of inter-account transfers and interest payments in making her calculations.
Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said the president had indicated in both the response to the Section 7(9) notice from the public protector as well as in his founding affidavit to the court that the funds had been used to support a range of campaign activities, including mobilisation, communication, research, security, administration, logistical support (travel and accommodation) as well as stipends and salaries.
“Funds were also provided to co-ordinators in provinces throughout South Africa. The coordinators used these funds to organise meetings and rallies, arrange transport, hire venues, provide accommodation, etc.”
She said the president wanted to assure the South African public that CR17 was run as a clean campaign and “in the spirit of some of this country’s rich democratic traditions- namely accountability, honesty and integrity”.
According to a Sunday Independent investigation, it was reported that Nicky Oppenheimer, South Africa’s richest man, donated R10 million to the campaign; Raymond Ackerman, the owner of Pick n Pay, donated a reported R1 million. Maria Ramos, the ex-ABSA CEO and PIC executive allegedly gave R1 million while an as-yet-unidentified anonymous donor gave what’s understood to be the single largest amount: R120 million.
(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)