Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba has instructed Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwebane’s lawyers to file directly to his office the records of the evidence she relied on in her report on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign for the ANC presidency and the R500 000 donation from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson.
Ledwaba gave the instruction on Wednesday, just as Mkhwebane’s legal team filed the record at the Pretoria High Court.
In his letter to Mkhwebane’s lawyers, Ledwaba said he had noted communication from Ramaphosa’s lawyers and had as such instructed the Public Protector’s lawyers “to file the records directly to my office and not with the registrar on the first floor where records are normally filed”.
Judge orders Public Protector to file evidence she relied on in President Cyril Ramaphosa campaign funding case
This will ensure that the records do not become accessible to the public as does all records filed with the registrar in terms of Rule 53 of the Uniform Rules of Court.
The rule affords a party who wants to have the courts review the decisions of another party, the ability to request that they produce the record which underpins that decision.
However, once the documents are filed with the registrar, they can be accessed by anyone and become common knowledge.
Ledwaba justified his decision to have the documents filed privately saying this was necessitated by the fact that “the issue regarding the Public Protector’s records, particularly they being made public, had not been resolved” hence having them filed as such would be best for all parties involved.
City Press understands that the contentious evidence, filed under Rule 53, consists of bank statements of the various entities involved in the campaign as well as emails and correspondence that formed part of Mkhwebane’s investigation.
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Some of the documents have already been leaked to the media who have since reported on the funders of Ramaphosa’s campaign and how some of them have benefitted from their proximity to the presidency.
The president took Mkhwebane’s report, which found that he deliberately misled Parliament in November last year, on review an act that seems to have motivated Ledwaba’s instruction that the records filed privately until such a time a ruling is made on Ramaphosa’s review application.
Ledwaba has also requested a “judicial management meeting with the parties’ legal representatives on August 15”.