Ramaphosa denies soliciting tender during Lesotho peace talks

2015-04-09 11:07

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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has poured cold water over allegations that he demanded a contract in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project in return for influencing the results of his facilitation in that country’s political stand-off.

The claim that Ramaphosa solicited a tender in order for him to influence the outcome of his facilitation was allegedly made by Lesotho’s former prime minister Motsoahae Thabane in an interview with news site Public Eye Online.

Ramaphosa was appointed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to facilitate a political settlement in Lesotho in September last year following the dissolution of that country’s coalition government. The coalition government collapsed in August last year after a coup attempt.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said “at no point during the facilitation process did Deputy President Ramaphosa seek the support of the former prime minister in securing a contract for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Nor does Deputy President Ramaphosa have any personal economic interest in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.”

Ramaphosa, said Mamoepa, continues to hold Thabane in high esteem for the role his government played in contributing meaningfully to the creation of peace and stability in Lesotho.

Thabane was quoted as saying “what I know is that I refused to award him a contract for the highlands water project. I suppose there are some people that promised him that if he can help them, as soon as they had assumed the reins of governance, they will give him such contract. I refused to bootlick him.”

Thabane made the statements after Ramaphosa, who on Monday wrapped up the SADC’s work in Lesotho, allegedly failed to acknowledge his contribution in trying to usher a lasting solution.

Apparently Ramaphosa singled out and extended sincere gratitude to King Letsie III, Prime Minister Dr Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy Mothetjoa Metsing. Thabane reportedly said: “I cannot control his personal feelings about me. If he decided to acknowledge certain people as the only people that helped him, well, that is beyond my control. Those (tenders) are delicate governance and public issues that must be executed with transparency and integrity. So if he decided to only acknowledge people that gave him hugs, I unfortunately don’t hug men, I hug women. I don’t have time to give men hugs.”

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