South Africa’s government acknowledged on Thursday that prejudice was partly to blame for deadly rioting that has targeted foreign businesses, as those attacks and reprisals overshadowed a continental economic conference for a second day. President Cyril Ramaphosa had hoped the World Economic Forum conference in Cape Town would serve as a shop window for his efforts to revive South Africa’s ailing economy and boost intra-African trade. But the backdrop of violence has dominated proceedings, above all exposing dormant tensions between the host country and Nigeria, the continent’s two biggest economies. At least five Africans have been killed this week in attacks on foreigners in South Africa. On Wednesday local companies MTN, and Shoprite closed stores in Nigeria after retaliatory attacks, and threats of reprisals forced Pretoria to shut its embassy in Abuja, its foreign minister said. Nigeria’s vice president boycotted the meeting on Wednesday over the rioting. On Thursday Jim Ovia, chairman of Nigeria’s Zenith Bank and a co-chair of the whole event, also withdrew, citing the “hypersensitivity of the issues surrounding the lives and well-being of Nigerian citizens living in South Africa.” In Abuja, Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed said it was recalling its High Commissioner to South Africa. As his ministers sought to manage the fallout, Ramaphosa cancelled his appearance at the WEF plenary session to address a crowd of protesters demonstrating for a second day about violence against women. Speaking in his place, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said most South Africans disapproved of the attacks on foreigners
Lawyers for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa have asked a court to seal financial records held by the country’s corruption watchdog because they were obtained unlawfully, online news site Times Live reported on Friday. Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said in July that Ramaphosa had “deliberately misled” parliament about a 500,000 rand ($32,924.20) donation he received for his 2017 campaign to become leader of the governing African National Congress (ANC). Her report found he had violated an executive ethics code and said there was prima facie evidence of money laundering in his campaign’s handling of donations. Times Live reported that Ramaphosa’s lawyer, Peter Harris, said in a letter to deputy judge president Aubrey Ledwaba on Thursday that Mkhwebane’s report had been based on information obtained illegally and which should not be made public. “We submit that the bank statements of EFFG2, Linked Environmental Services, Ria Tenda Trust and the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation accounts contain confidential information which must be protected in terms of the abovementioned provision,” Harris was quoted as saying. “We have reason to believe that certain of the abovementioned documents may have been unlawfully obtained by the public protector.” In her report, Mkhwebane said she used copies of subpoenas to FirstRand’s FNB bank, Absa bank and key individuals, as well as copies of affidavits and letters, among key sources of information. She will submit records of her investigation or all evidence she relied on for the report’s conclusions by Aug. 15, spokesman Oupa Segalwe said in a response via
“The ANC is not aware of any acts of illegality on the part of a campaign conducted by any leader of the ANC, including President Ramaphosa. The leaked emails are therefore nothing but a calculated manoeuvre to defocus and detract from the immediate task of socio-economic issues and dealing with the challenges of our economy.
A South African corruption watchdog said President Cyril Ramaphosa “deliberately misled” Parliament about a campaign contribution, a setback for a leader who has vowed to address sprawling graft allegations that forced his predecessor from office and sparked national outrage. The report was released as that former president, Jacob Zuma, abandoned his testimony to a high-profile state commission probing wide-ranging allegations of graft in government and state-owned companies. Zuma, who denies the allegations against him, asserted he was being treated unfairly. But a deal was quickly reached for him to return at some point in the future. The outcry over years of alleged corruption during Zuma’s stay in office has shaken both the economy of South Africa, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa, and public support for the ruling African National Congress. The party has been in power since the end of the harsh system of racial segregation known as apartheid 25 years ago. Now the ANC faces an internal struggle between allies of Cyril Ramaphosa and Jacob Zuma, who led South Africa from 2009 to 2018 when he resigned under party pressure and was replaced by former deputy Ramaphosa. The current president has repeatedly vowed to fight corruption and win back public confidence. Friday’s report by South Africa’s public protector, a constitutionally created office that probes alleged misconduct in state affairs, said Ramaphosa “deliberately misled” lawmakers late last year about a 500,000-rand ($34,000) campaign contribution from the CEO of a local company, Africa Global Operations, formerly Bosasa. The report called
Former South African President Jacob Zuma ducked and dived on his second day of testimony at a corruption inquiry on Tuesday, saying he knew nothing about his business friends the Guptas allegedly offering a former lawmaker a ministerial position. The inquiry is spotlighting the allegations of graft that clouded Zuma’s nine-year presidency, but analysts say that if it fails to pin a case on him it could dent President Cyril Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption drive. Ramaphosa’s efforts to clean up politics are already hampered by the lingering influence that Zuma and his allies exert over the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Allegations that Zuma allowed the three Gupta brothers to plunder state resources and influence senior government appointments are one of the main areas of focus for the inquiry, which began in August and is expected to last into next year. The Guptas have denied the allegations against them, as has Zuma, who was ousted by the ANC in February 2018 and replaced by Ramaphosa. State prosecutors have said they are following the inquiry and they could open cases if sufficient evidence of wrongdoing emerges. Under pressure from his party, Zuma agreed to set up the inquiry just before he left office. Asked about an incident where one of the Indian-born Guptas allegedly offered former ANC lawmaker Vytjie Mentor the position of minister of public enterprises, Zuma said on Tuesday: “I know nothing about it”, repeating the same phrase several times and once letting out a chuckle. Mentor told the inquiry that
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has made another adverse finding against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, this time in relation to the establishment of the so-called “rogue unit” at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in 2007. At the time, Gordhan was the commissioner of SARS. He was appointed as minister of finance in 2009. Mkhwebane released her report on the “rogue unit” on Friday during a press briefing at her offices in Pretoria. She told journalists she had divided her Gordhan probe into parts to deal with the various allegations: That Gordhan lied to Parliament by not disclosing his meeting with a member of the Gupta family;That SARS established an unlawful intelligence unit (the so-called “rogue unit”);That this unit allegedly obtained illegal equipment to conduct intelligence operations Findings On the first count, Mkhwebane said Gordhan had failed to remember anything that happened during the supposed meeting, and she thought this was implausible. On the SARS rogue unit issue, she found that former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula had lied under oath during his interview with her by saying no such intelligence unit existed. The unit was established without involving the State Security Agency (SSA). Under former finance minister Trevor Manuel, SARS had already begun operating the unit and Gordhan should have been aware of this, she said. The commissioner of SARS is the accounting officer and was therefore accountable. On the alleged possession of intelligence equipment, evidence in her possession confirmed its existence. “If SARS’ operations were lawful, it is unclear
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday urged the country to pursue “an extraordinary feat of human endeavor” as he was sworn in for a five-year term with a delicate fight against government corruption ahead of him. “The challenges our country face are huge and real. But they are not insurmountable. They can be solved. And I stand here today saying they are going to be solved,” Cyril Ramaphosa told some 30,000 people in the capital, Pretoria, with several African leaders in attendance. He promised a new era in which officials will improve the lives of South Africans instead of enriching themselves. He called for a state free from graft and “resources squandered,” and urged fellow citizens to end poverty in a generation. Both would be immense achievements: Corruption and mismanagement have consumed billions of rand, and South Africa is the world’s most economically unequal country . Ramaphosa’s inauguration followed his ruling African National Congress party’s 57.5% victory in this month’s election. It was the party’s weakest showing at the ballot box since the ANC took power at the end of the harsh system of racial apartheid in 1994, as voter turnout and confidence fell. Ramaphosa first took office last year after former president Jacob Zuma was pressured to resign amid corruption scandals that badly damaged public faith in the ANC. A former protege of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, Ramaphosa is seen by many as having the potential to clean up both the government and the ruling