Ramaphosa's presidential bid funded by controversial state contractor

16 November 2018 - 17:09
President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted on Friday that his bid for the ANC presidency was partly funded by a controversial payment made to his son, Andile.
Image: Supplied President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted on Friday that his bid for the ANC presidency was partly funded by a controversial payment made to his son, Andile.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed that his campaign to oust Jacob Zuma at the ANC's conference in Nasrec last year was partly funded by a controversial government contractor who is also trading with his son, Andile.

Ramaphosa made the revelation on Friday afternoon in a letter to national assembly speaker Baleka Mbete.

In the letter, Ramaphosa backtracks from the statement he made to parliament last Tuesday that the R500,000 paid to his son by African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa, was for legitimate business between the company and Andile.

In the document, Ramaphosa tells Mbete that after his reply to the question from DA leader Mmusi Maimane last week, he went to seek further information.

Ramaphosa says he has since discovered that the payment had nothing to do with his son and it was actually a donation to fund his presidential bid.

He said the payment was made by African Global Operations on behalf of its CEO, Gavin Watson. The president said the donation was made without his knowledge and he was not aware of it when he answered questions in the national assembly last week.

Ramaphosa's revelations come after Maimane launched an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, in which he sought to compel the president and African Global Operations to avail their contract with Andile for his scrutiny.

Ramaphosa, however, confirmed that Andile has a contract with AGO "for the provision of consultancy services to the latter in a number of African countries other than South Africa. South Africa is specifically excluded to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

"I have been subsequently informed that the payment referred to in the supplementary question by the leader of the opposition [Maimane] does not relate to that contract. 

"I have been told that the payment to which the leader of the opposition referred was made on behalf of Mr Gavin Watson into a trust account that was used to raise funds for a campaign established to support my candidature for the presidency of the African National Congress. 

"The donation was made without my knowledge. I was not aware of the existence of the donation at the time that I answered the question in the national assembly.

"I thought it best to furnish this information to clear any confusion."

Maimane said in a statement in response to the president’s letter that: “He [Ramaphosa] has clarified that what initially looked like a dodgy payment to his son, Andile, was in fact a dodgy payment to him.”

He said that this revelation now “requires a full investigation into the Ramaphosa family’s relationship with Bosasa”.

“This investigation should cover all payments made to any member of the Ramaphosa family from Bosasa and African Global Operations, and should cover the business relationship between Bosasa and the president’s son. The president should come clean and disclose all payments received by him, his family, and his campaign by Bosasa.

“We need to find out: Did Ramaphosa solicit the donation? Are contracts awarded to Bosasa payback for their support for the President and his family?

“These questions can only be answered by a full investigation in Ramaphosa’s family dealings with Bosasa,” said Maimane.