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Mkhwebane probes Ramaphosa for 'breach' of executive ethics code

08 June 2022 - 15:47
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she has received a complaint against President Cyril Ramaphosa, alleging he has breached the executive code of ethics. File photo.
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she has received a complaint against President Cyril Ramaphosa, alleging he has breached the executive code of ethics. File photo.
Image: Amanda Khoza

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said on Wednesday she has received a complaint against President Cyril Ramaphosa for allegedly breaching the executive code of ethics.

The complaint, lodged in terms of the Executive Members' Ethics Act (Emea) relates to Ramaphosa's alleged conduct in respect of allegations about criminal activities at his farm in Limpopo.

The complaint was received last Friday from Vuyo Zungula, an MP and president of the African Transformation Movement.

The complaint was made after former correctional services commissioner Arthur Fraser said last week he had laid criminal charges against Ramaphosa. Fraser said the charges emanate from the theft of millions of US dollars concealed on the premises of Ramaphosa's Phala Phala farm in Waterberg, Limpopo, by criminals who were allegedly colluding with his domestic worker.

In response, the presidency said last week there was no basis for the claims of criminal conduct made against Ramaphosa in Fraser’s statement.

Fraser alleged that the president concealed the crime from the police and/or the SA Revenue Service (Sars) and thereafter tracked down and paid the culprits for their silence.

The public protector said the investigation concerning Zungula's complaint has started, with letters already written to sources of information, including Ramaphosa.

“The public protector gets a lot of unfair criticism when it comes to investigations conducted in terms of the Emea, with some media organisations and politicians often accusing the office of ‘targeting’ certain members of the executive and getting involved in party politics,” the office said in a statement.

The office said the public protector is the only institution in the country empowered to enforce the executive code of ethics. It said under Emea, only members of the executive and MPs or MPLs can lodge complaints of alleged breaches of the code.

On receipt of such a complaint, the public protector must investigate and must submit a report on the alleged breach within 30 days of the complaint to the president if the complaint is against a member of cabinet, a premier or deputy minister.

The office said if the complaint is against an MEC, the public protector must submit the report to the premier of the province concerned. On receipt of the report, the president or premier must within a reasonable time but no later than 14 days submit a copy, any comments on the content and any action taken or to be taken to the National Assembly, the National Council of Provinces or the provincial legislature.

“Due to the silence of the Emea when it comes to the appropriate recipient of the report in case the complaint is against the president, the public protector has previously had to improvise and send it to the speaker of the National Assembly.”

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