Cyril Ramaphosa 'gives back' Gavin Watson's R500,000

03 February 2019 - 00:00 By QAANITAH HUNTER
President Cyril Ramaphosa has told public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane that the R500,000 donation Bosasa boss Gavin Watson had given for his presidential campaign has been transferred to a trust account.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has told public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane that the R500,000 donation Bosasa boss Gavin Watson had given for his presidential campaign has been transferred to a trust account.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

President Cyril Ramaphosa's campaigners tried unsuccessfully to meet Bosasa boss Gavin Watson to repay him the R500,000 donation he gave to his presidential campaign.

That's according to information Ramaphosa provided during his meeting on Tuesday with public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane at the presidential residence in Pretoria, Mahlamba Ndlopfu.

Ramaphosa told Mkhwebane that the money had been transferred to a trust account, pending investigations into Bosasa, which is now known as African Global Operations.

Mkhwebane is investigating Ramaphosa for allegedly misleading parliament when he said the R500,000 was payment to his son's company. His son Andile was doing business with Bosasa.

The Sunday Times has seen Ramaphosa's presentation to Mkhwebane.

The presentation reads: "I have subsequently been informed by the CR17 campaign managers that after an unsuccessful attempt to meet Mr Gavin Watson in order to arrange for the return of the donation, an amount of R500,000 has been transferred into an attorneys trust account until such time as these matters surrounding African Global Operations are clarified."

Ramaphosa said the decision was made following "various concerning disclosures" before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

"Thereafter a decision will be made as to whether these monies should be returned to the account from where they came, passed on to appropriate government authorities or donated to charities," the presentation said.

The Zondo commission has heard for the past three weeks how Bosasa allegedly bribed politicians, government officials and prosecutors.

The commission heard evidence of corruption, fraud and money laundering, including cash payments allegedly made by Bosasa to Jacob Zuma, Nomvula Mokonyane and Gwede Mantashe, among others.

Ramaphosa reiterated that there was no connection between his son's agreement with Bosasa and the donation to his campaign.

"There is no improper relationship between me and my family on one side and AGO on the other side," Ramaphosa said.

He told the public protector that his son's company signed an advisory mandate agreement with Bosasa in December 2017 and in January 2018 they signed an "anti-bribery and corruption policy".

"I had no reason to believe that there was anything untoward about the relationship," Ramaphosa said.

The president said that he did not deliberately mislead parliament.

"I have discouraged my children from conducting business with government or with any state-owned entity. I have told them that if I become aware of any illegality of corruption in their business activities, I will be the first to report them to the authorities," Ramaphosa told Mkhwebane.

The DA has been calling for Mkhwebane to make public her meeting with Ramaphosa.

They have also called for a commission of inquiry into Bosasa and for Ramaphosa to make public his son's business contract with Bosasa.


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