Those who helped me win ANC power do not 'owe an apology' to anyone: Ramaphosa

22 August 2019 - 18:27
By Thabo Mokone
President Cyril Ramaphosa replies to questions in the National Assembly on August 22 2019.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES President Cyril Ramaphosa replies to questions in the National Assembly on August 22 2019.

People who paid cash towards the CR17 campaign and ANC figures who managed it did not have to explain themselves to anyone.

This is according to President Cyril Ramahosa, who told MPs on Thursday that ANC volunteers and organisers who were involved in his successful bid to take over the leadership of the ANC in 2017 did not "owe an apology" to anyone.

Ramaphosa was addressing the controversial CR17 campaign issue following a question from EFF leader Julius Malema, who wanted him to name cabinet ministers who had helped raise funds for the CR17 campaign, and the funders the president had wined and dined.

Malema's question came during a week in which it was revealed that several ANC figures had derived personal benefit from about R1bn that had been raised for the CR17 campaign in the run-up to the ANC national conference in 2017.

Weekend media reports said that small business minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni got payments to the tune of R5m from the CR17 campaign, which she allegedly used for personal benefit, while deputy minister in the presidency Thembi Siweya received sums amounting to R2.3m.

The leaked CR17 bank statements also showed that transport minister Fikile Mbalula and deputy state security minister Zizi Kodwa received payments of R40,000 each, apparently for their efforts in helping propel Ramaphosa to the ANC presidency and eventually to the highest office at the Union Buildings.

But Ramaphosa has dismissed the report as nothing but "a sinister agenda" to destroy the  positive mood that has engulfed the country since his election at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, in 2017.

Ramaphosa said he was confident that there had been no wrongdoing or criminal activity in all the affairs of the CR17 campaign.

"The CR17 campaign was a legitimate, forward looking and necessary effort to promote the renewal of the governing party and broader society and it was undertaken under difficult conditions.

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"In its funding and its activities, there was no wrongdoing, let me repeat, no wrongdoing, no criminality, no abuse of public funds or resources. It's important that we note that.

"Those who contributed to the campaign, whether as organisers, volunteers, as service providers or indeed as donors of one sort or another, including myself, did so out of genuine concern for the future of our country. If there were members of the executive who were part of the campaign who were involved in fund raising, they did so as individual party members exercising their democratic, constitutional rights. And in this regard they owe no apology for what they did."

But Malema lashed out at Ramaphosa for refusing to disclose the names of ministers who mobilised funds for his campaign and the business people who contributed, saying this was not consistent with his messages on the importance of transparency.

Ramaphosa also dismissed suggestions by DA leader Mmusi Maimane that he had dispensed patronage and bought loyalty by deploying those who helped run his campaign as ministers.