Everybody’s got a relative in the tender business – Cyril’s turn

CAPE TOWN — The call for a probe into the ANC party leadership race funding of Ramaphosa by African Global Operations (AGO or BOSASA), a continental consultancy birthed by ANC women stalwarts is about so much more than his son, Andile’s contractual links to the long-favoured company. AGO has an extensive and dubious track record of lucrative state tenders while being virtually part of the ANC’s historic stable. It’s tempting to say Cyril’s reputation will survive should he fail to initiate a probe, denying as he does any knowledge of the funding while confirming it happened. The issue is about the credibility of the entire ruling party. Just about everybody, it seems, was/is enmeshed in State-Capture-like tender deals. As always, the guys in power get to call the probes (Zuma did; left, right and centre, using the captured NPA). This is manna from heaven for the DA. Dangerously however, the pro-Zuma faction, with a gravy train to get back on track, will ride this for all its worth, the ever-ready-flip-floppers (EFF), eager to back them. We no longer buy the thoroughly-discredited Malusi Gigaba’s “didn’t knows”. Do we ‘buy’ Cyril’s just because he’s arguably our best bet? – Chris Bateman

By Renee Bonorchis

(Bloomberg) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his campaign to become leader of the ruling African National Congress last year received a payment from a firm with links to his son and that he previously and inadvertently gave incorrect information about it to parliament. The donation is being returned.

Ramaphosa’s son Andile had a contract with African Global Operations, previously known as Bosasa, for the provision of consultancy services in a number of African countries, excluding South Africa, according to a statement from the presidency on Friday. The opposition Democratic Alliance had questioned a R500,000 ($35,732) payment from Bosasa, which has contracts with South African government institutions.

Cyril Ramaphosa, SA president, NHI
President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The payment was made on behalf of Bosasa head Gavin Watson into a trust account that was used to raise funds for the leadership campaign, Ramaphosa said in the statement. “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.”

The president’s comments come as relationships between South African government and lawmakers with private businesses is under particular scrutiny. Ramaphosa pledged to clean up state corruption when he replaced Jacob Zuma as president in February, and a range of hearings and inquiries have since taken place. Ramaphosa won the ANC leadership election in December.

Ramaphosa’s answer isn’t good enough, according to DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

“He needs to tell us – and he needs to show us – exactly how much money he received from Bosasa, and what Bosasa got in return,” Maimane said in an emailed statement on Saturday. “Plus he must still show us his son’s contracts with Bosasa along with details of the money paid to him. There has to be a full investigation into this matter.”

Ramaphosa’s campaign team on Saturday said it will return the Bosasa donation, Cape Town-based News24 reported, citing a statement. The team said the president wasn’t aware of the payment because fundraising operations were kept separate from other matters in order to minimise any potential conflicts of interest, according to News24.