In the wake of an admission from President Cyril Ramaphosa that his campaign team benefited to the tune of R500,000 from facilities management company African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa), which funded Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign for the ANC in 2017, his team has said they will refund the money.
In a statement on Saturday, his campaign team denied that Ramaphosa had been part of their fundraising. They insisted he didn’t have a record of who had donated to them and had not intentionally “misled” parliament.
Eleven days ago, DA leader Mmusi Maimane dropped a bombshell in parliament during Ramaphosa’s Q&A session on the VBS saga.
He told the president he had evidence of a questionable payment of R500,000 that was made to the president’s son Andile, an accusation the president then denied.
The president said he was aware of the business relationship Maimane was talking about but said it was legally instituted through a company Andile did business with.
“It was brought to my attention a long time ago and I proceeded to ask my son what this was all about. He runs a financial consultancy business and he consults for a number of companies and one of those companies is Bosasa, where he provides services of entrepreneurship, particularly on the procurement process, and he advises both local and international companies,” he explained.
News24 then reported that Andile Ramaphosa denied receiving the particular R500,000 payment flagged by the DA. He said he would welcome an investigation of the matter.
Ramaphosa’s campaign team clarified on Saturday that the money had not been paid directly to Ramaphosa, any of his family members or his foundation.
Ramaphosa had on Friday issued a correction to his parliamentary reply – claiming he learnt that the money was made on behalf of Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson into a trust account which was used to fund his election campaign.
Ramaphosa said he was unaware of the donation when he responded to Maimane’s question. He had made the admission to the speaker of the National Assembly in a letter dated November 14, claiming he inadvertently provided incorrect information but had not intentionally misled the House.
“My reply to the question was based on the information that was at my disposal at the time, regarding a business relationship that my son’s company has with the company African Global Operations,” wrote Ramaphosa to the Speaker.
“I have been subsequently informed that the payment referred to … 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.”
His campaign team said in their statement on Saturday that Ramaphosa had originally answered Maimane’s question with the best knowledge he had at the time.
The EFF’s Julius Malema has called on Ramaphosa to admit to “lying” to parliament, while DA leader Mmusi Maimane has called for a full investigation of the matter.
(Edited by Charles Cilliers)