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CONSTITUTIONAL CONUNDRUMS

Mogoeng Mogoeng slams Ramaphosa and demands ANC prioritise taxpayer needs over party funders

Mogoeng Mogoeng slams Ramaphosa and demands ANC prioritise taxpayer needs over party funders
Former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. (Photo: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

Speaking at the inaugural SAfm lecture, under the theme ‘Constitutionalism and upholding the rule of law in South Africa’, the former Chief Justice criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s failure to disclose the sources of his R500-million CR17 campaign, and the ANC must avoid becoming ‘a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich’.

Retired Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng believes it is time for South Africa to develop a public funding model that would ensure that government and political parties owe their allegiance to taxpayers rather than private funders.    

This, according to Mogoeng, was a price worth paying to avoid a democratic order that produces “a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich”.

“Who facilitates a politician’s upward mobility is a question that must necessarily and seriously exercise our minds for the biting truth is, there is no free lunch in this world.  

“Private funding of individuals and of political parties themselves is in my view an investment that is expected to yield very handsome returns as soon as beneficiaries thereof rise to positions of sufficient authority to deal out favours at tenders,” he said. 

Mogoeng made the remarks on Wednesday night at the inaugural SAfm lecture titled: “Constitutionalism and upholding the rule of law in South Africa”.

Ramaphosa in firing line

In his address, Mogoeng did not mince his words as he criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s failure to disclose sources of his almost R500-million campaign to become ANC president and how the money was spent to win the top spot at the party’s elective conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg in December 2017.  

Read more in Daily Maverick: How Ramaphosa’s campaign spent R400-million — and why it matters 

This, according to Mogoeng, was a consequential failure: “sure albeit unintended recipe for corruption under the cover for the facilitation of a well-structured mechanism or legal stratagem having the inescapable effect of evading accountability”. 

“What the president self-evidently did, was to undermine and to frustrate the efforts of that (Public Protector) office to fulfil its constitutional obligations, by not just withholding the truth, but deliberately asserting the opposite of it… Lest we forget, we are not dealing here with an average citizen, but with the bearer of specific and frighteningly weighty constitutional responsibilities; who is expected and required to lead by example and be above reproach.

“The President therefore had the duty to know, if he did not already know who was funding his campaign and to disclose that personal benefit compositely as a benefit from the CR17 campaign as an entity or more appropriately from each donor with a specified amount.  

“Why? So that Parliament and the public could know who was helping or had helped him to perform better than his competitors and enabled him to become ANC president and a few months later, President of the Republic,” Mogoeng said.  

The country already has in place some form of public funding model in the form of the Political Party Funding Act which came into effect in April 2021.   The legislation requires that all parties declare and provide details of all donations, loans, membership fees and income, as well as lists of bank accounts into which this money is deposited, to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC). 

The legislation has however met some resistance, with some political parties failing to meet deadlines for disclosure and some not declaring at all.  

Read more in Daily Maverick: South African political parties were supposed to submit financial statements to IEC by 30 September – but many haven’t 

“The reality is, private funders do not just thoughtlessly throw their resources around. They do so for a reason, and quite strategically,” Mogoeng added.  

Mogoeng said he was not oblivious to the fact that some private funders allocate their resources to independent candidates or party policies because they genuinely believe in their policies or mandate — be that as it may, Mogoeng continued, some did so with the hopes of influencing policy decisions and advancing personal interests. 

Rolling blackouts whitewash

Mogoeng also took a swipe at the government’s inability to put an end to the ongoing rolling blackouts crisis in the country. 

“Why does it look like we are failing or unwilling to resolve the all-important Eskom issue? After all, it has been many years since those who were allegedly corrupt and destroying Eskom have been relieved of their duties, the same group that actually ended load shedding at some point.  

“Besides, this is not a new problem, and our future, our economy and credibility as a nation depends on the functionality and efficiency of Eskom.”  

During his tenure as chief justice, Mogoeng often made headlines for his often publicly stated, religious beliefs. In 2022, he started speaking publicly about his aspirations to become president, saying he believed it was his calling. 

In July, he was quoted as saying he had been approached by multi-billionaires — whose names he did not disclose — to form his own political party, but declined the offer. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    We know the President strives to all things to all men…..but fails at the first hurdle

    • Peter Utting says:

      Retired Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng believes it is time for South Africa to develop a public funding model that would ensure that government and political parties owe their allegiance to taxpayers rather than private funders.

      Maybe, Retired Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should critically read the
      THE PREAMBLE to THE SA Constitution, which I understand should be SECULAR.

      “We, the people of South Africa,
      Recognise the injustices of our past;
      Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;
      Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and
      Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”

      [I don’t BELIEVE in anything – if I don’t know, I will find out. Replace BELIEVE with KNOW.]

      “We therefore, through our freely elected representatives,”
      [the Zondo Report clearly shows that our freely elected representatives have failed us]
      ” adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to –
      Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social
      justice and fundamental human rights;
      Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
      Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and
      Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign
      state in the family of nations.
      May God protect our people.”

      [Where did this God come from? God has never been proven to exist. The onus is on those who claim there is a God to prove God exists! Rather: May this Constitution protect our people.]

      The SA Constitution has been hijacked by politicians – unprotected by The Constitution.

  • Thug Nificent says:

    Cyril Ramaposer is USELESS!

  • Jon Quirk says:

    Lest we all forget, the fundamental reason that CR stepped into the breech was to frustrate and prevent the truly arch-evil Jacob Zuma from remaining in power.

    If, for no other reason, all reasonable people owe CR a debt of gratitude.

    Sadly, we all now know, that CR achieved nothing else, and he ruled over a period of unbelievable value-destruction in our SOE, and all branches and levels of government. But what we also need to bear in mind is that, as destructive as this turned out to be, it would have been immeasurably worse had Zuma remained in control

  • Tumi Mothibedi says:

    In politics, the uncontrollable love of money is definitively the root of weak leadership.

  • Charl Marais says:

    Constitutional reform 101: Public office bearers should face recall elections.

  • Peter Utting says:

    Retired Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng believes it is time for South Africa to develop a public funding model that would ensure that government and political parties owe their allegiance to taxpayers rather than private funders.

    Maybe, Retired Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should critically read the
    THE PREAMBLE to THE SA Constitution, which I understand should be SECULAR.

    “We, the people of South Africa,
    Recognise the injustices of our past;
    Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;
    Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and
    Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”

    [I don’t BELIEVE in anything – if I don’t know, I will find out. Replace BELIEVE with KNOW.]

    “We therefore, through our freely elected representatives,”
    [the Zondo Report clearly shows that our freely elected representatives have failed us]
    ” adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to –
    Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social
    justice and fundamental human rights;
    Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
    Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and
    Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign
    state in the family of nations.
    May God protect our people.”

    [Where did this God come from? God has never been proven to exist. The onus is on those who claim there is a God to prove God exists! Rather: May this Constitution protect our people.]

    The SA Constitution has been hijacked by politicians – unprotected by The Constitution.

  • Jo Redeker says:

    This ANC govt is about to put its sticky fingers into the GEPF(Government Employees Pension Fund) cookie jar. Stealing from those people, teachers etc, who contributed to the fund over many years. This govt thinks all monies from all people belongs to them and them only.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    We perhaps have forgotten the moment the country was in when Cyril was voted into the Presidency of the ANC what was happening. We may be critical of Ramaphosa now, but that does not mean we must be dishonest where the country was at the time he was voted as ANC President. We had the ANC of Jacob Zuma using the proceeds of corruption to campaign for NDZ and because corruption money has no paper trail you would not be able to see exactly the people involved and the amounts. The information would therefore have not served before Moegoeng. Mufamadi put it correctly when he said that Cyril would have not won the ANC Presidency without the support of the CR17 fund. The supporters of NDZ who were in control of Provinces and National Departments were using the taxpayers money to campaign for NDZ and these are not lies. In KZN they had a lot of cadres fora and in Mpumalanga, Free State and Northwest. We were facing a calamity of unimaginable proportions with people like Mokonyane saying that the Rand can fall they are going to pick it up. The Department of Water Affairs was declared to be bankrupt by the National Assembly following a report of SCOPA and the Portfolio Committee that flagged a missing R13 billion. We had a serious situation in the Social Department where Bathabile Dlamini was a law unto herself with dubious contracts. We could be in a very worse situation and Moegoeng with his minority judgement shows a lack of judgement as he lost. We do not hear anything from CASAC.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The issue of the CR17 funds are recklessly dealt with by the former Chief Justice . The moment the country was in is not even being grasped by him let alone the abuse of public funds in ANC Conferences during the Zuma era. The issue of the internal contests of the ANC is an ANC matter even if the person became President as we do not have a record of the DA Campaign funding but that is not the issue. To actually cling on his minority judgement that was devoid of the context within which the CR17 funding arose is very unethical on his part. As a person who was not only aware but very much involved I was conscious of the gravity of the situation the country faced and the hundreds of million of Rands through tenders funding the contest of NDZ. We can have the political opportunism of Maimane and the o[pposition but there is nobody in this country who did not appreciate the gravity the country was in because of Jacob Zuma. Former Chief Justice Moegoeng must not try to mislead people as if he was ignorant of the issues as the Nkandla judgement tells a story including him when swearing MPs when he spoke about the meaning of the taking of oath by members of Parliament. When all parties gave him the support in 2018 it was a sigh of relief that we never had the rascals taking over. None amongst the parliamentary parties was not aware of the wrecking ball called Jacob Zuma. We must stop dishonesty. Cyril might have failed us in our expectations but it is not a reason to lie.

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