The public protector says in a letter to Mmusi Maimane that she served the president with a section 7(9) notice on May 30.
The presidency has confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa has been served with a section 7(9) notice by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane via a statement.
“The president remains committed to fully cooperating with the public protector in the course of her investigation and to ensuring that this matter is speedily brought to conclusion,” said presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko.
This follows a Business Day report stating that in a letter to Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane, Mkhwebane confirmed that she had served the president with the notice, which is a formal notification that a person has been implicated in an investigation by the public protector’s office.
Mkhwebane said in the letter that Ramaphosa was served with the notice on May 30. Those served with section 7(9) notices are given a deadline of ten days to respond, but according to the letter, the president requested an extension until June 28, with Mkhwebane instead giving him until June 21. This extension has been confirmed in the presidential statement.
Ramaphosa has also requested to cross-examine Maimane as well as others involved in the investigation, the presidential statement confirms.
Mkhwebane said in the letter to Maimane that she had requested that the president provide her with the questions that would be asked so she could ascertain whether allowing this cross-examination to take place was justifiable.
This follows the DA giving Mkhwebane until the end of this week to release her report on whether Ramaphosa lied to parliament last year about whether or not he knew of his son’s involvement in a R500,000 donation to Ramaphosa’s campaign for the ANC presidency from Gavin Watson, CEO of hugely controversial facilities management company African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa.
The DA threatened to take action if the report was not released after The Sunday Independent reported on a leaked version of a preliminary report on the matter, saying Mkhwebane’s report would find the president guilty of “inadvertently misleading” parliament and failing to declare the donation from Bosasa.
The newspaper’s story further claimed that Ramaphosa and his campaign team may have been involved in money-laundering activities in a bid to cover up the donation.
Maimane, meanwhile, said he had not received an update on the report after questioning why it had taken more than six months to complete.
According to the Ethics Act, the public protector must investigate a complaint on an alleged breach of the code of ethics by a member of the National Assembly and submit a report within 30 days of receipt of the complaint.
In February, The Citizen reported that Ramaphosa admitted the R500,000 donation from Watson had still not been repaid, while denying that he had deliberately told a lie in parliament.
In his initial eight-page response to Mkhwebane, Ramaphosa explained he was informed by his adviser in September 2018 about the rumour that his son Andile Ramaphosa had received a payment of R500,000 from Bosasa (now African Global Operations), which Andile said was made for “an advisory mandate for possible business activities in some East African countries”.
Andile’s company had, in December 2017, signed an anti-bribery and corruption policy that he instituted with all his clients “as a precautionary measure following [his father’s] election as president of the ANC in December 2017”.
Ramaphosa said Andile showed him copies of the advisory mandate and the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy, which, according to Ramaphosa, was when he first learnt of Andile’s relationship with the controversial company.
“From the way it was explained to me, and based on the advisory mandate and Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy, I had no reason to believe that there was anything untoward about the relationship,” said Ramaphosa.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni and Charles Cilliers)