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South Africa’s Ramaphosa wins latest legal tussle with anti-graft body

South Africa's Ramaphosa wins latest legal tussle with anti-graft body

In the latest round of a protracted battle, a South African court on Monday temporarily blocked the nation’s anti-corruption watchdog from forcing Parliament to censure President Cyril Ramaphosa over campaign funding.

Ramaphosa and anti-corruption ombudswoman Busisiwe Mkhwebane locked horns after she accused him of “deliberately” misleading parliament over fundraising in his campaign to become President of the African National Congress (ANC) in 2017.

In her scathing report last month, Mkhwebane also directed parliament to take action against the President for allegedly breaching the Executive Ethics Code and ordered him to disclose details of all his campaign funders.

Ramaphosa went to court seeking an interim ban on her instruction while he appealed against her findings. He has described the report as “fundamentally and irretrievably flawed”.

A Pretoria High Court granted him the interdict he sought.

The court battles between Ramaphosa and Mkhwebane are taking place against the backdrop of a power struggle within the ruling ANC.

Ramaphosa’s supporters accuse the ombudswoman of betraying her statute of independence and being a proxy for the President’s opponents.

Ramaphosa became the President of the ANC in December 2017, beating a candidate backed by scandal-tainted former President Jacob Zuma.

Since then, the ANC has been bitterly split between supporters of Zuma, who resigned last year amid graft allegations, and those backing Ramaphosa, who came to power vowing to fight corruption.

Appointed during Zuma’s tenure, Mkhwebane replaced Thuli Madonsela, whose term expired in 2016 after she had exposed a string of scandals enmeshing the then President.

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