CR17: ANC Integrity Commission ‘concerned’ by Ramaphosa’s behaviour

The ANC Integrity Commission has previously been accused of being ‘toothless’ – but Chairperson George Mashamba showed his teeth on Wednesday, by delivering a stinging rebuke against Cyril Ramapahosa. According to the Commission, they were left ‘concerned’ by Ramaphosa’s reluctance to answer questions about the CR17 campaign.

Ramaphosa sets alarm bells ringing for Integrity Commission

Since taking office in 2018, the president has been blighted by accusations that he illicitly raised funds during his bid for ANC leadership. He’s even been accused of ‘vote buying’ during the Nasrec Conference. The allegations are very serious, and according to Mashamba, it has taken Ramaphosa 18 months to finally appear before the panel.

It was hardly worth the wait. When quizzed about his CR17 campaign, Ramaphosa apparently demanded that his legal advisor should be present. This is not the done thing for the Commission, which has since stressed that the blurring of political and judicial lines left its members ‘greatly disappointed’.

CR17 issue sparks ‘concerns’

The whole incident has left a very sour taste for senior party figures. The Integrity Commission was set up to encourage greater transparency amongst ANC representatives. So when the president starts ducking and diving their queries – before reaching for the lawyers – it doesn’t exactly set a great example: It’s something Mashamba is painfully aware of:

“The Integrity Commission had been increasingly concerned that the President had been unable to meet with us – despite our numerous requests. It eventually took place in November, lasting for two-and-a-half hours. Ramaphosa wanted to bring his legal advisor to discuss funding for the CR17 campaign, but our terms of reference do not allow for this.”

“We were concerned with the blurring of lines and the merging of political and legal processes. The Integrity Commission is not a court of law, we cannot pronounce guilt or innocence. It was therefore, with great disappointment to us, that the president declined to talk about the campaign funds until the legal matter had been finalised.”

“Even so, the Commission’s talks with the president were honest, frank and productive. Despite the purpose of the meeting [being about the CR17 funding], other matters were also discussed.”

George Mashamba