Ramaphosa condemns social media 'smear campaign' alleging affairs

02 September 2017 - 07:58
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office has condemned what it termed a “deliberate campaign to smear” him after purported questions from a Sunday newspaper about his personal life were circulated on social media.

The statement from Ramaphosa’s office on Friday night followed the widespread distribution on Twitter and Facebook of questions apparently from Steven Motale, the editor of the Sunday Independent.

The questions claimed the newspaper was in possession of emails from accounts used by Ramaphosa. The emails detailed alleged extramarital affairs by the deputy president, who is in the running to be the next president of the ANC come the party's elective conference in December.

The questions claimed at least one of the women with whom Ramaphosa allegedly had a relationship had fallen pregnant; that another was a university student; and that Ramaphosa had been sent sexually explicit material from some of them.

Ramaphosa’s spokesman Tyrone Seale said in the statement: “The Office of the Deputy President is aware of social media messages, which take the form of media enquiries from a Sunday newspaper, that make various claims about Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s personal life.

“There is no doubt that these messages have been circulated as part of a deliberate campaign to smear the person of the deputy president. They are a transparent attempt to distort personal email correspondence that could only have been obtained through criminal means.

“The deputy president will in due course release a detailed statement on the allegations contained in the messages.”

Ramaphosa is married to Tshepo Motsepe,the sister of South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe.

Two weeks ago, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema revealed that he understood a campaign targeting Ramaphosa was about to unfold and that he would be accused of beating women. His ex-wife, Hope Ramaphosa, immediately leapt to his defence.

“Cyril would rather negotiate or do things amicably than beat someone up. I was his wife and girlfriend for a very long time. Cyril would not beat up a woman. He is very sensitive to women’s issues,” she said.

On Friday night, Malema tweeted: “Ramaphosa, his wife & supporters will have to be extremely strong especially as they move closer to the conference, dirty tricks on steroids.”

Motale is a former editor of The Citizen who was fired (and later reinstated by a court) after he wrote an open letter apologising to President Jacob Zuma for a “media-driven agenda” that sought to bring down the president.