Response to media enquiries regarding an investigation into allegations of a violation of the Executive Ethics Code against the President of the Republic of South Africa his excellency Mr MC Ramaphosa

The Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) has received several media enquiries pertaining to its investigation into allegations of a violation of the Executive Code of Ethics against the President and finds it prudent to update the public as follows due to the public interest on the issue.

We confirm that the President had until July 18, 2022 to respond to the allegations letter of June 07, 2022 after his previous request to have the initial return date of June 22, 2022 extended. A request for a further extension has instead been filed. The request for a further extension has been denied and was communicated to the President on July 18, 2022.

The Public Protector Rules, 2018 as amended (the Rules), which set out response protocols and timeframes in respect of investigations, provide in Rule 23(2) (b) that where a state institution receives correspondence from the PPSA, including a request for information in respect of investigations of alleged breaches of the Executive Code of Ethics, the institution concerned must submit a written reply or written substantive reply within 14 days, except where the Public Protector specifies otherwise, as per the extension granted in this matter until July 18, 2022.

Rule 23(3) of the Rules provides that: “Where the state institution has failed to submit a reply within the timeframes referred to in sub-rule (2) above, the Public Protector may direct the state institution concerned to submit a substantive reply, which reply must be received not later than seven days from the date of the directive.”

The PPSA will therefore be invoking its subpoena powers in line with section 7(4) (a) of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994, read with section 5 thereof. Section 7(4) (a) provides that: “For the purposes of conducting an investigation the Public Protector may direct any person to submit an affidavit or affirmed declaration or to appear before him or her to give evidence or to provide any document in his or her possession or under his or her control which has a bearing on a matter being investigated, and may examine such person”.

Section 7(5) state thus: “A direction referred to in subsection (4) (a) shall be by way of a subpoena…”

The PPSA would like to reassure the public that the matter remains ongoing and that other investigative tools and methods are being employed to establish the veracity of the allegations that gave rise to the investigation.

No further public comments pertaining the matter will be made in an effort to protect the integrity of the investigation. This is because investigating such matters in the glare of the public carries with it the risk of jeopardizing investigations.

Published Date: 
Tuesday, July 19, 2022