Constitutional Court in South Africa has acquitted President Cyril Ramaphosa of allegations that he intentionally mislead the country’s parliament over campaign finance donations.
“The Public Protector was wrong on the facts and on the law with regard to the issue that the president had wilfully misled parliament,” said Justice Chris Jafta.
In 2019, “public protector” and watchdog Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that Ramaphosa had deliberately misled the National Assembly when he was asked about a donation to his 2017 election campaign.
Mkhwebane specifically inquired about a $32,500 donation for his campaign to succeed Jacob Zuma as head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
Ramaphosa was also accused of money laundering. The court ruled that there was no evidence to support the allegation of money laundering. The court found that it was also outside of the watchdog’s jurisdiction to investigate the private donations.
Earlier this week, the court ordered the imprisonment of Jacob Zuma, the country’s former president, for 15 months on contempt charges. Zuma defied an order to appear before a corruption inquiry. The inquiry was to look into Zuma’s alleged financial corruption between 2009 to 2018.
Zuma denies all accusations against him. He alleges Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the leader of the corruption inquiry, has a personal vendetta against him.
“Our Patron has expressed his doubts about the lawfulness of the Zondo Commission, the biased manner in which it is being conducted, and the fact that it has been transformed into a “slaughterhouse” and a forum in which all kinds of unsubstantiated and defamatory allegations have been made against him,” The Jacob Zuma Foundation said in a statement.