Thabo Mbeki: ANC has bigger problem around money

The former statesman also said he didn’t believe any ANC leader had been bought by 'monopoly capital'.

FILE: Former President Thabo Mbeki. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Former President Thabo Mbeki has added his views on presidential campaign funding in the African National Congress (ANC), reportedly saying issues around how money is used within the governing party is something it is aware of.

eNCA reported on Sunday that at an interactive event with students at the University of South Africa on 15 August, Mbeki said he believed the public scrutiny around President Cyril Ramaphosa’s funders to his 2017 ANC presidential campaign shouldn’t be focused on the president alone as the problems have been around for a while.

“It's an issue that has been with the ANC for some time. So, I am sure that the ANC will deal with that issue. I am saying the ANC has identified there is a problem - the use of money - because clearly it's got to be addressed,” Mbeki was quoted as saying.

He added that statements that there hasn't been any policy on the issue meant "the matter must be attended to".

The former statesman also said he didn’t believe any ANC leader had been bought by “monopoly capital” following accusations by some opposition parties that Ramaphosa was bought by “white monopoly capital” after the Sunday Independent published the names of the CR17 funders last week, which consisted largely of business people.

“I am quite certain that as members of the ANC, we would never allow a situation in which leaders of the ANC are bought by monopoly capital, that they cease to be our leaders and they become property of somebody else. If that happens, you should blame the rest of us. But I don't think we would allow that to happen,” he said.

• EFF: Mokwele's R40k proves Ramaphosa knew about ANC CR17 donations

The matter surrounding Ramaphosa’s ANC campaign funding followed Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report released in July, which found that the president misled Parliament over a R500,000 donation to his campaign from African Global Operations, previously known as Bosasa.

In November 2018, Ramaphosa responded to a question in the National Assembly in which he claimed that the money was in fact payment to his son for services rendered, but he later corrected the statement.

Ramaphosa took the Public Protector’s report on an urgent judicial review to be set aside. The High Court in Pretoria granted him an interdict of Mkhwebane’s remedial action and recommendations, which included, among others, an ethics probe by Parliament and the National Prosecuting Authority investigating allegations of money laundering involving the C17 campaign.

At the beginning of August, emails related to funding for the campaign were leaked and circulated on social media. The emails were verified by News24, which reported Ramaphosa's campaign managers believed the communication was intercepted illegally. Most recently, the _Sunday Independent _ reported on bank statements related to the campaign.

Last week, the High Court in Pretoria temporarily sealed the Public Protector’s records related to her investigation, as requested by the president.

Mkhwebane on Wednesday filed the record with the High Court as part of the president's application to review and set aside the report and its findings. But, other evidence related to the Public Protector’s report may be made public depending on whether Ramaphosa’s legal team is satisfied that the records were lawfully obtained and are not confidential.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)