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Sun Aug 28 09:06:25 SAST 2016

Ramaphosa denies meeting Johan Rupert over cabinet appointments: full statement

Times LIVE | 26 March, 2016 10:03
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Highstead official residence in Groote Schuur Estate, Cape Town on 12 February 2016.
Image by: Esa Alexander

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied claims that he met with business people including Johan Rupert, Maria Ramos and Trevor Manuel following the appointment of Des Van Rooyen and the subsequent appointment of Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance.

According to RDM LIVE President Jacob Zuma told the NEC that after he had appointed Des van Rooyen as finance minister, billionaire Remgro chairman Johann Rupert flew from London to meet with a senior ANC leader demanding the reversal of the decision.

Although Zuma didn’t mention the ANC leader, his claims were similar to those made in a column published by The New Age, a Gupta-owned newspaper, which claimed that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had received a call from Rupert.

Earlier this week Rupert spoke to Sowetan LIVE about the allegations, saying "No, I did not meet with Mr Ramaphosa, I have not seen him in many years."

He further compared the allegations to the way the Nationalist Party ran its politics during Apartheid.

"The real sadness is to see history repeating itself. Finding themselves in trouble the old, racist Nationalist Party lashed out at mysterious third forces trying to destabilise their appalling regime," Rupert said in written response to questions posed by Sowetan.

'State capture' by wealthy elites has become a hot topic in South Africa, following allegations that the Gupta family had offered various politicians positions on President Zuma's cabinet in exchange for policies which favoured their business interests.

President Zuma has said he doesn't know if this constituted an accusation of corruption.

His full statement is as follows:

In response to a number of media queries regarding the allegation that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa met with business people including Johan Rupert, Maria Ramos and Trevor Manuel following the appointment of Des Van Rooyen and the subsequent appointment of Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance, the office of Deputy President Ramaphosa wishes to put the following on record:

1. Deputy President Ramaphosa categorically denies ever having such a meeting with Johan Rupert, Trevor Manuel and Maria Ramos or any other business persons to discuss cabinet appointments.

2. The only time Deputy President Ramaphosa engaged himself with the matter  of the finance ministry was during the meeting of the top six ANC officials with  President Jacob Zuma on the Sunday leading to the appointment of Pravin Gordhan as the finance minister.

3. The suggestion therefore that Deputy President Ramaphosa met with Johan Rupert, Trevor Manuel and Maria Ramos to reverse decisions of the President on the finance ministry is thus wholly incorrect, mischievous and misleading.

4. Accordingly, it is unfortunate that those who peddled these falsehoods did not find it within their obligation to verify the facts with the office of the Deputy President before setting on publishing the story.

5. It is our conviction that those who published these untruths will find it within their conviction to place correct facts at the disposal of the public.

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