I don't have the power to unseal CR17 bank statements, says Ramaphosa

The president faced a number of questions related to tenders and party donations led by EFF leader Julius Malema.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa interacting with communities across the nation through a virtual Presidential Imbizo on coronavirus. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said it was unbecoming that any funder of a political party would make their support conditional on receiving state tenders.

He also told the National Assembly that should Parliament want to bring a law governing internal party campaign funding it should do so.

Ramaphosa faced a number of questions related to tenders and party donations led by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.

Malema wanted to know why Ramaphosa was resisting the publication of the bank accounts belonging to donors who funded the CR17 campaign - his successful bid in 2017 to become the president of the African National Congress (ANC).

But Ramaphosa made it clear the matter, which is now before the courts, was out of his hands.

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He said he had no control over making the bank accounts public and has urged that the court process to be allowed to unfold. The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) is opposing the unsealing of the documents.

“The bank statements are from accounts over which I do not have any form of control. They belong to entities and private companies which I do not control and whose affairs are protected by the country’s privacy laws. It is therefore not within my power,” Ramaphosa said.

The president said no laws governed funding for internal party leadership contests, and that it was something Parliament should perhaps consider.

Asked about allegations that the ANC received large donations from companies awarded lucrative government tenders, Ramaphosa told the house it was a question of principle whether or not those awarded contracts should be allowed to fund political parties and that the ANC was dealing with the issue.

“But I would say in the end that I think it is unbecoming that any funder would say that, ‘we are funding you, provided that you ensure that we get that and that tender’,” he said.

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