Ramaphosa steers clear of Bosasa in reply to SONA debate

2019-06-26 17:21
President Cyril Ramaphosa responding to the debate on his State of the Nation Address. (GCIS)

President Cyril Ramaphosa responding to the debate on his State of the Nation Address. (GCIS)

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Responding to the debate on his State of the Nation Address on Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa didn't take up the challenge by opposition leaders to "come clean" on his relationship with Bosasa.

During Tuesday's debate of eight hours, EFF leader Julius Malema told a joint sitting of Parliament that there was no chance of winning the fight against corruption if the president was involved in allegations of money laundering.

"We want the president to come [clean], to explain and take the country into confidence, as to who are the people who have donated money in the CR17 campaign and what do they stand to benefit," Malema said.

"We need the names, not leaked documents, Mr President. You ought to call all these trustees [of his 2017 campaign] and say to them they must give you a report of who donated money and what are the expectations of those people."

"Please help South Africa, by taking it into your confidence. Make sure that you lead by example," Malema said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane also broached the subject of the Bosasa payment to Ramaphosa's campaign and the resulting Public Protector's investigation.

"Mr President, you should lead by example and stop delaying and frustrating the Public Protector’s investigation in your Bosasa dealings," Maimane said.

"Let the Public Protector do her work, and once the report is finalised, appear before a parliamentary ad hoc committee, so that the matter can be dealt with in an open and transparent manner."

But on Wednesday, Ramaphosa didn't say a word about the Bosasa allegations. 

In his response of 4984 words (according to the copy released to the media), Ramaphosa mentioned the word "corruption" only three times, compared to the 11 times he mentioned "dream, dreams or dreaming".

"We have done much to address governance challenges at several other state-owned enterprises and have been decisive in tackling corruption and state capture," Ramaphosa said.

SCROLL: 'I do not want South Africa to perish': Ramaphosa's #SONA debate reply

"In line with our objective to restore not just investor confidence but regain the trust of our citizens, we have intensified the fight against corruption across government.

"This is an important part of our priority to build a capable, ethical and developmental state.

"We have restored stability in important institutions like the South African Revenue Service and the National Prosecuting Authority and improved their capacity," he said.

"The Zondo commission of inquiry is doing crucial work in establishing the extent of state capture.

"Integrity is being restored to our national intelligence machinery as we act on the recommendations of the High-Level Review Panel on the State Security Agency."

The other time he used the word "corruption" was in relation to the Firearms Control Act.

Neither the matters relating to him and his son, nor any of the allegations implicating various members of his party, was addressed directly.

This follows on from his response to debate on his SONA in February this year. With former Bosasa COO's Angelo Agrizzi allegations in his testimony before the Zondo commission still fresh in the mind, opposition speaker after opposition speaker raised the matter.

On that occasion, Ramaphosa didn't refer to Bosasa either.

Ramaphosa became embroiled in the Bosasa scandal last year, when he responded to a question by Maimane in the National Assembly.

Also read: ANC allies seek the truth about Ramaphosa money laundering claims

Ramaphosa said his son Andile had received money from Bosasa - which has since been renamed African Global Operations (AGO) - for services rendered in terms of a consultancy contract. He said his son produced a contract between himself and the company.

But the president later backtracked in a letter to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and claimed that the R500 000 payment in question was actually a donation that had been made to his ANC presidential campaign, which he was previously unaware of.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has since started an investigation into the matter, including allegations of whether the donation was laundered, after Maimane laid a complaint.

The Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture also heard devastating allegations of graft between Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, and several key ANC figures.

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