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South Africa's opposition party calls for release of report on Ramaphosa

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South Africa's opposition party calls for release of report on Ramaphosa
FILE PHOTO: South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa gestures during the announcement of the new cabinet in Pretoria, South Africa May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko   -   Copyright  SIPHIWE SIBEKO(Reuters)
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s main opposition party called on Monday for the graft watchdog to release a report into allegations President Cyril Ramaphosa misled parliament over a donation to his 2017 election campaign for the leadership of the ruling ANC.

The opposition had complained to the corruption watchdog in November regarding a 500,000 rand ($33,625) donation by Gavin Watson, CEO of services company Bosasa, to Ramaphosa’s campaign to lead the African National Congress (ANC).

Any confirmation of the allegations would be a blow to Ramaphosa, who has pledged to tackle deep-rooted corruption and make state-owned enterprises more efficient in order to attract investment and boost the economy.

Mmusi Maimane, who leads the opposition Democratic Alliance, said the Public Protector’s report should be released in full within 48 hours.

“The immediate release of this report will leave no room for further leaks and speculation and allow the public and Parliament to hold President Ramaphosa to account for his actions,” Maimane said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the presidency declined to comment.

The Sunday Independent newspaper reported that a leaked version of the preliminary report said Ramaphosa had violated the constitution and the executive code of ethics by telling parliament he did not know his son was involved in the donation.

Reuters could not verify the newspaper’s report.

The corruption watchdog said in a statement on Sunday that the Public Protector and her office would not comment on the contents of any news report or leaked documents that could potentially jeopardize her investigations.

In February, Bosasa’s former chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi told a South African judicial inquiry into alleged influence-peddling that he had bribed politicians and bureaucrats to secure contracts. He and four other former employees of the privately owned company were later arrested on suspicion of corruption and fraud.

Also known as African Global Operations, Bosasa is among companies to suffer penalties since Ramaphosa became South African president a year ago, promising to root out corruption. The firm, which applied for voluntary liquidation in February, has declined to comment on the case.

($1 = 14.8700 rand)

(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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