South African president to appear before ruling party’s integrity commission

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses supporters of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) at an election victory rally in Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 12, 2019. REUTERS-Mike Hutchings

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa will appear before the governing African National Congress party’s integrity commission over controversial campaign donations, the deputy secretary of the ruling party said on Sunday.

Ramaphosa has staked his reputation on cleaning up South African politics since he replaced former president Jacob Zuma 2-1/2 years ago, but he has been constrained by factional battles in the ANC, where a section of the party remains loyal to Zuma.

“He [Ramaphosa] has made contact with the integrity committee and he will be presenting himself there for a discussion on the CR17 funds,” said ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte during an interview on eNCA television.

CR17 funds refer to the campaign donations Ramaphosa received in 2017 when he was running for the ANC leadership.

Duarte did not say when the president would appear before the commission.

Members of the ANC have been removed from their posts as a result of the commission’s past recommendations.

South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog said in a report that Ramaphosa had “deliberately misled” parliament about a 500,000 rand ($35,955) donation he received.

Ramaphosa told parliament at that time that the money was obtained legally for services he provided, but he later amended this by saying the payment was a donation towards his campaign.

The saga has proven a headache for Ramaphosa, providing ammunition for his enemies.

Zuma, facing trial for graft, on Friday accused him of bringing the party into disrepute – a sign of growing divisions within the ANC. The party was holding its national executive committee conference this weekend.

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