Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied meeting business tycoon Johann Rupert, Barclays Africa CEO Maria Ramos, former finance minister Trevor Manuel and other business people, shortly after President Jacob Zuma fired Nhlanhla Nene and appointed Des van Rooyen as minister of finance in December last year.
According to several reports, Ramaphosa met with senior business people such as Rupert soon after Nene’s dismissal; the reports suggested the meetings may have influenced the decision to replace Van Rooyen with Pravin Gordhan as the head of the Treasury.
The Presidency issued a statement on Saturday in which Ramaphosa “categorically denies ever having such a meeting with Johan (sic) Rupert, Trevor Manuel and Maria Ramos or any other business persons to discuss cabinet appointments.”
The statement said the suggestion that Ramaphosa met with these individuals “is thus wholly incorrect, mischievous and misleading.”
According to the statement, Ramaphosa’s first engagement in the matter was during the meeting of the top six ANC officials with Zuma on the Sunday prior to the appointment of Gordhan as the finance minister.
Rupert is one of few prominent business leaders to openly criticise Zuma over the events in December which resulted in the reappointment of Gordhan.
Rupert commented on a Netwerk24 article last week in which he also denied meeting with Ramaphosa. In his comment, Rupert also called for Zuma’s resignation.
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