President Cyril Ramaphosa’s advocate told the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday that the President’s financial statements of the 2017 African National Congress (ANC) presidential campaign were never entered into the court record.
Advocate Wim Trengove told the court that the documents were made available to the EFF and other respondents but they never incorporated the documents into their main case and therefore are not in the public domain.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is applying to unseal the CR17 bank statements.
EFF leader Julius Malema is adamant that South Africans have a right to know who funded Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign and whether his donors are benefiting from state contracts.
Trengove argued that the documents are private information and are therefore constitutionally protected.
He reminded the court that a full bench of judges ruled that the Public Protector’s investigation into the CR17 campaign was unlawful and said under the Executive Ethics Code, the President didn’t have to disclose the documents.
Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba sealed the CR17 financial records in August 2019 after Ramaphosa’s legal team argued they were illegally obtained by the Public Protector during her investigation into his campaign.
The EFF told the High Court in Pretoria that unsealing the financial records of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2017 ANC presidential campaign might stop possible corruption that could flourish through private funding.
Advocate Ishmael Semenya, SC, for the EFF, says it is imperative for the democratic project in South Africa to have transparency.
Semenya says, “We’re entitled to know who those individuals are and what amounts were paid because from there we can make an intelligent connection of dots to see whether or not the conduct of governance in is furtherance of the interest of those individuals or not.”
He says they do not say anything untoward happened during the CR17 campaign but that the donors knew they were supporting the next likely president of the country when they donated to the campaign.