Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
27 Jan 2022
12:15 pm

Mkhwebane’s office confirms probe into Ramaphosa leaked audio

Thapelo Lekabe

The complaint was received late afternoon on Wednesday, says the Office of the Public Protector.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Neil McCartney

The Office of the Public Protector has confirmed it will investigate the alleged breach of the Executive Code of Ethics against President Cyril Ramaphosa, over the alleged abuse of state funds in the run-up to the ANC’s 2017 elective conference.

Scopa gives Ramaphosa 10 days to account

This follows this week’s meeting of parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), which resolved to gave Ramaphosa 10 days to account for remarks he made in a leaked audio clip about funds from the State Security Agency (SSA) being used during the ANC’s Nasrec conference for internal political campaigns.

ALSO READ: Scopa to give Ramaphosa 10 days to explain leaked audio

The meeting was convened after suspended ANC MP and Scopa whip Mervyn Dirks wrote to the committee requesting it to summon Ramaphosa to answer questions over the allegations.

In the leaked audio – from one of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) meetings last year – Ramaphosa could be heard conceding that he was “willing to fall on the sword” to protect the ANC, instead of revealing the names of party members who had allegedly used public funds for their political campaigns.

Executive Code of Ethics

In a statement on Thursday, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s office said it received the complaint late afternoon on Wednesday, in which a Member of Parliament alleged a breach of the Executive Code of Ethics against the president.

“The complaint was lodged in terms of the Executive Members Ethics Act 82 of 1998 (EMEA). The PPSA [Public Protector South Africa] has been inundated with queries about the complaint since the sitting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts earlier in the week.

“The PPSA wishes to remind all concerned that in terms of the EMEA, the Public Protector must investigate any alleged breach of the code on receipt of a complaint by the president, a member of the National Assembly or a permanent delegate of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) if the complaint is against a Cabinet member or a deputy minister,” said Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe.

Segalwe added that the EMEA further provided that such an investigation should be completed within 30 days.

Scopa meeting

During Tuesday’s Scopa meeting, committee chair Mkhuleko Hlengwa said they would not summon Ramaphosa, as he had not shown any intention not to cooperate with Parliament.

He said they would instead write to the president to answer questions over the leaked audio that has been making the rounds on social media.

“We are duty-bound as the committee to look into matters which have a direct bearing on the public purse. If no one is above the law, then no one must be above our processes.

“I fundamentally believe the president owes this committee, parliament and the people of South Africa an explanation and must take the country into confidence about what we do not know. Here it’s ultimately about money and the president has got information which we require,” said Hlengwa.

Hlengwa said should Ramaphosa fail to respond to Scopa in writing within 10 days, they would request him to appear before the committee.

Scopa also resolved to write to the SSA and the Office of the Auditor-General to get clarity on the alleged abuse of state resources for ANC internal political campaigns.

Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

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