'It was not a gift or a favour' - Andile Ramaphosa on R2m Bosasa payment
"I want to categorically state that it was not a gift or a favour. We have work done and these projects existed [sic]."
That is what President Cyril Ramaphosa’s son, Andile, said in a video he tweeted on Sunday. He was speaking about R2m his company, Blue Crane Capital, received from Gavin Watson, CEO of African Global Operations (formerly known as Bosasa).
Andile said his company would in future do more due diligence because he was a "politically-exposed individual".
"Within the company it’s obviously shown that it’s a risky issue for us."
Andile wrote in the Sunday Times that Blue Crane Capital in 2016 had a vision of introducing smart-city solutions in key African centres and they needed a partner to supply the hardware.
"That’s how we entered into a business relationship with African Global Operations (AGO), previously known as Bosasa," he wrote.
"We had been working with Dahua Technologies, the world's second-largest original equipment manufacturer, as our technology partner for about a year, building solutions for the East African market. We built a pipeline that promised a turnkey solution to clients. It was time for us to deliver. We needed a strong implementation partner and, in that process, Dahua introduced us to AGO."
Ramaphosa said Dahua had already supplied Bosasa with equipment.
"With Dahua's global standing and expertise we had no reason to doubt their recommendation of AGO. We did not evaluate AGO beyond their technical and operational capabilities, which were impressive."
Andile said in their "enthusiasm and haste to press ahead", Blue Crane Capital "overlooked the reputational and other risks posed by AGO and its past business practices".
"We did not take account of the reports that had surfaced over the years about allegations of wrongdoing. This is something I sincerely regret. It is a massive letdown for me personally and for my company."
He added: "Over the year or so that the contract was in operation, Blue Crane Capital received a total of around R2m from AGO. Following revelations about AGO’s alleged business practices, we terminated the contract."
Andile said the money was "not a gift, bribe or a favour" but payment for the work they had done in East Africa.
"Our retainer kicked in as we incurred costs for the commencement of the projects. We employ a team of 12 people in Uganda."
He said the work they had done so far included:
- A solar-power installation for a large oil multinational; and
- A fibre network for eight financial services companies, including banks;
Blue Crane Capital invoiced AGO in final settlement for amounts owing as agreed in the termination letter that was issued in November 2018.
"I have never embarked on a partnership with AGO or any others with corrupt intentions or a desire to subvert the law or due process for monetary benefit."
He added: "I have never used my ‘influence’ in any business dealing. I have never offered to use my ‘influence’ to assist AGO or any other company to secure tenders, nor have I ever been in a position to do so. My company, Blue Crane Capital, has never conducted any business with the government or state-owned entities and has never entered into an obviously conflicted business arrangement within any section of the South African or any other government."