South Africa’s Cyril President Ramaphosa hits back in corruption row


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (file photo)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is mounting a legal challenge against an official report that concluded he had deliberately misled parliament over a campaign donation.

He said the report by the country’s corruption watchdog was “fundamentally and irretrievably flawed”.

Speaking to reporters, he also said it was appropriate for courts to make an impartial judgment on the matter.

Mr Ramaphosa’s supporters say the allegations are politically motivated.

The report by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was released on Friday. As well as accusing President Ramaphosa of misleading parliament, it suggested that he had potentially committed a money laundering offence.

Last year, Mr Ramaphosa told parliament that he had not received election campaign donations from a controversial company during his bid to lead the ANC.

It later emerged that was not true. Mr Ramaphosa apologised, and said he had been misinformed.

The allegations against President Ramaphosa are seen by many as a battle for control of the ANC, and South Africa itself. Party factions have become more entrenched since President Jacob Zuma, 77, was forced to resign in February 2018 amid widespread allegations of corruption, which he denies.

He was replaced by his then-deputy, Mr Ramaphosa, who promised to tackle corruption and described Mr Zuma’s nine years in office as “wasted”.

Critics of Ms Mkhwebane say she has become a participant in a fight-back by allies of former President Zuma.

The battles are likely to play out in South Africa’s courts, which have remained largely independent.

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