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.
South African minister Pravin Gordhan won a bid to avoid imminent disciplinary action on Monday after a court suspended orders from the public protector, in a relief for ally President Cyril Ramaphosa. The ruling is the second time in around a week that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has lost a high-profile case in court, potentially undermining the credibility of her investigations, which include one into Ramaphosa himself. Mkhwebane, who investigates alleged wrongdoing by state officials, instructed Ramaphosa to take “appropriate disciplinary action” against Gordhan this month after finding that Gordhan had violated the constitution and an executive ethics code. He has denied any wrongdoing. She had also instructed the country’s chief prosecutor and speaker of parliament to investigate Gordhan’s actions before Monday’s ruling. Public Enterprises Minister Gordhan, who oversees efforts to fix struggling companies such as state power utility Eskom, applied for an urgent ruling to prevent all of these actions being taken against him while he sought a separate ruling setting aside the public protector’s findings. “Gordhan will, if the suspension if not granted and the review is subsequently upheld, be seriously prejudiced,” High Court Judge Sulet Potterill said. “It defies all logic to proceed with the execution of the remedial action when the report that is the basis for the remedial action is the subject of judicial review.” “NONSENSICAL” The public protector’s spokesman, Oupa Segalwe, said Monday’s judgment was disappointing and that Mkhwebane would study it before “mapping the way forward”. The radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)
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