Presidency dismisses report alleging ‘plot’ against PP as ‘complete fabrication’

'The Star' reported on Monday that the president was behind moves to get Busisiwe Mkhwebane arrested before she releases her report in which he is being investigated for approving the ANC’s controversial trip to Zimbabwe on an Air Force jet in September.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The Presidency has dismissed a report in The Star on Monday that President Cyril Ramaphosa is “plotting” to get Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane arrested for perjury as a “complete fabrication” without any factual basis.

The newspaper reported that the president was behind moves to get Mkhwebane arrested before she releases her report in which he is being investigated for approving the African National Congress’ (ANC) controversial trip in September to Zimbabwe on an Air Force jet to meet with Zanu-PF.

The Star cited a source claiming that Mkhwebane was expected last week to submit a warning statement at the Hillbrow Police Station after she was instructed by Hawks head, Godfrey Lebeya, to provide the statement over a criminal complaint of perjury and defeating the ends of justice laid against her by non-governmental organisation, Accountability Now, in August 2019.

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The nameless source at the Hillbrow SAPS revealed that if Mkhwebane was criminally charged, she would be suspended by the president because the statement would act as an admission of guilt in the alleged plot to remove her from office.

An individual from Ramaphosa’s office also tried to put pressure on police to arrest Mkhwebane before 13 January, according to the publication.

But the Presidency said in a statement that the allegations were simply false and the newspaper provided no evidence to back up the claims.

“President Ramaphosa has no knowledge of, nor any involvement in, the matters to which the article refers,” said acting Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale.

The Star makes very serious claims about the President’s conduct without any factual basis. It is irresponsible and reckless journalism that deserves to be dismissed out of hand.”

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The perjury case followed the Constitutional Court ruling in July 2019, which found that Mkhwebane was dishonest in her investigation into the apartheid-era loan by the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) to Absa. The apex court also awarded punitive costs against her in her personal capacity.

Seale said that Ramaphosa was firmly committed to the rule of law and due process.

“He has never and will never interfere in any criminal investigation or other legal process,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mkhwebane’s spokesperson told _The Star _ that she was only aware of a request for a warning statement that was made by the Hawks earlier this year in January, which she stated at the time she would exercise her right not to make.

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