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EDINBURGH — Many of us have got at least one relation who has done something bad enough to get into jail or in the newspaper headlines for all the wrong reasons – but should we be tarnished with the same brush for their wrongs? In South Africa, it’s unfortunate that dodgy relatives have been targeted by the corruptors, and have manipulated the sons, daughters and spouses of political figures into facilitating lucrative deals. This was apparent in the Jacob Zuma years, with Duduzane – one of Zuma’s many children – helping the Gupta family extract huge sums out of state coffers. And, earlier this year, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule shamelessly admitted it was no secret that his son also worked for the Guptas. Revelations that Cyril Ramaphosa’s son Andile is in bed with Bosasa – whose bosses allegedly handed many thousands of rands to Zuma’s lady friend Dudu Myeni in the hope this cash would make its way to the former president – is worrying. President Ramaphosa is on a drive to clean up corruption, a strategy that is being closely watched by the international investment community as well as local entrepreneurs who are pondering whether to inject more funds into South Africa. His son’s activities won’t help the cause. – Jackie Cameron
By Thulasizwe Sithole
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s son Andile is in the media spotlight over payments from Bosasa, a company at the centre of a major corruption scandal, says media house News24.
Andile Ramaphosa admitted to the payment in an interview with News24 investigative journalists. The media organisation tells how, in an exclusive interview, Ramaphosa Jr confirmed details of a News24 investigation spanning several months.
News24 says that, in December 2017, Ramaphosa Jr’s company, Blue Crane Capital, signed an “advisory mandate” with Bosasa, resulting in it being receiving a monthly retainer fee of R150,000, which was later increased to R230,000.
“It was a severe oversight on our part,” he said of the glaring red flags he claimed to have missed before putting pen to paper.
“It is clear now with the benefit of hindsight that our due diligence was insufficient in retrospect of my father’s role going into the Presidency,” Ramaphosa Jr said in a written response to follow-up questions from News24.
“Both Ramaphosa Jr and his father previously refused to divulge details or the value of the agreement despite Promotion of Access to Information Act requests and questions in the National Assembly,” says News24 reporter Kyle Cowan.
“News24 was able to independently obtain the values and put this to Ramaphosa Jr, who confirmed the exact amounts.”
— Vincent (@Da_Vince2) March 27, 2019
Andile Ramaphosa has been the target of investigation by News24 journalists for some time.
“Ramaphosa Jr admitted that he received around R2m from the controversial facilities management and technology company. These payments were made over the course of 10 months in 2018 and started in the month that Ramaphosa became head of state after ousting the corrupted Zuma as head of state,” explains News24.
“The payments by Bosasa/AGO to Ramaphosa Jr were made because of the latter’s ‘advisory’ services to the corruption-tainted company.”
According to News24 editors, Andile Ramaphosa was supposed to link Gavin Watson’s firm to business opportunities, but the relationship ended around the same time when the company’s former chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi took to the stand at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.
Andile Ramaphosa has denied using influence to help any party gain business.
In a second report on the matter on Wednesday, Media24 reported Andile Ramaphosa as commenting:
“My company, Blue Crane, has never conducted any business with government or state-owned entities and has never entered into an obviously conflicted business arrangement within any section of the South African or any other government.”
He added that the issue of a R500,000 payment, which came to light again during evidence before the Zondo commission into state capture on Tuesday, was “distinct and unrelated” to the contract Blue Crane had with AGO, said News24.
Earlier, News24 said its investigation had found the following:
- April 2017 – Discussions around the projects between Ramaphosa Jr and Bosasa begin
- June 2017 – Bosasa rebrands as African Global Operations (AGO)
- October 2017 – Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson donates R500 000 to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential campaign, in a transaction that was designed to be hidden from scrutiny.
- December 2017 – Advisory agreement signed between Blue Crane and Bosasa/AGO
- February 2018 – First invoice submitted by Blue Crane to Bosasa/AGO
- December 2018 – Advisory agreement terminated
There is a link through Chinese security tech giant Dahua Technology, the world’s second-largest security and surveillance equipment manufacture.
“Dahua representatives in South Africa introduced Ramaphosa Jr to Bosasa, News24 found, and they planned to use Dahua tech for the projects. The physical work was to be carried out by Bosasa.”
Bosasa is accused of corruption involving contracts for the Department of Correctional Services.
Data from National Treasury shows Bosasa and its subsidiaries were paid at least R12bn in the past 15 years, says News24.
In an editorial, News24 highlights that the scandal is a political risk for Cyril Ramaphosa.
“While there is no allegation of any illegal activity on the part of Ramaphosa Jr, there is no doubt that his relationship with a company so deeply embroiled in state capture carries severe political risks for his father,” say its editors.
“Bosasa/AGO seemingly was a company that spent millions of rand to bribe government officials, elected representatives and capture the ANC in order to score billions of rand in government contracts.
“Ramaphosa’s aims are to clean up the state, restore good governance and eradicate corruption.
“These efforts will be undermined by his son’s involvement with a company deeply involved in capture and will provide fodder for political opponents who believe that the Ramaphosa government is impotent to act against graft and malfeasance,” says News24 in its editorial.
"I will be the first to make sure [Andile Ramaphosa] becomes accountable… Even if it means that I am the one who will take him to the police station."
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) March 27, 2019
“The decision to look at Bosasa/AGO for business opportunities was a poor one by Ramaphosa Jr. He should have known better. It exposed him to a company which bought influence and seemingly bribed senior political figures. And he surely must have known about its history and the problems it could cause his father.”
News24 highlights the modus operandi of the state capture network, which is to target the children of political influencers, whether the surname is Zuma or Magashule. “And now Ramaphosa too.”
The president, says News 24, said he would be the first to march his children to the police if they found any wrongdoing. “And his son has put him in a difficult position.”
“If there is anything more to Ramaphosa Jr’s relationship with Bosasa, the time to come clean is now – because the Zondo commission has shown that the truth has a tendency to come out. Even if it takes time,” it adds.