Ramaphosa's campaign team says it will pay back Bosasa money

2018-11-17 18:59
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Ruvan Boshoff, AFP)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Ruvan Boshoff, AFP)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa's campaign team will pay back the R500 000 Bosasa donation that was given to his 2017 ANC presidential campaign.

In a statement on Saturday, his campaign team said Ramaphosa was not involved in fundraising efforts. They said he also didn't have a record of donors, although he was asked on occasion to attend dinners with potential donors.

The campaign team added: "At no point were any funds transferred to the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, his relations or to President Ramaphosa himself."

Ramaphosa said the donation by Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson was received without his knowledge in October 2017.

This emerged in a letter to the speaker of the National Assembly, stating that he had provided incorrect information when responding to questions in Parliament 11 days ago.

His campaign management team said there were various structures, including a finance task team, whose sole responsibility was to raise funds for activities that would be undertaken by volunteers and other members of team CR17.

To avoid conflicts of interests and to eliminate any expectation of "reciprocal intent, action or preferential treatment by donors, real or perceived", the fundraising team was isolated from other operations.

Speaking about the Bosasa monies, his team said it had resolved to return the funds. It would also request donors’ list from the fundraising team to conduct an audit to "ensure that fundraising processes and sources of funds were above board".

"President Ramaphosa was not aware of the payment, either at the time it was made or when he was answering questions in the National Assembly. His response was an honest reflection of the information available to him at the time."

It said donations were received from 200 individuals across the country.

The campaign funds received were used to pay for venue hires, transport, accommodation, communications and other campaign related activities.

His team said that Bosasa money was paid into a trust account that was one of the avenues used by the CR17 campaign to temporarily house the funds raised.

"Subsequent to the ANC’s Nasrec Conference, the CR17 campaign folded its operations and used all remaining funds to settle its obligations to service providers."

News24 previously reported that Ramaphosa was responding to a question from Maimane over the payment by saying that he had questioned his son Andile and learned that the payment was in respect of a consultancy contract his son’s company had signed with Bosasa, now named African Global Operations. 

READ: Ramaphosa corrects his National Assembly reply on his son's dealings with Bosasa

But just hours later, Andile denied to News24 that this specific payment ever reached him.

Opposition reaction

On Friday evening, EFF leader Julius Malema called on Ramaphosa to admit to parliament that he had lied about the money.

"The president must take full responsibility and admit that he lied to Parliament and he knows what happens to people who lie to Parliament," Malema said.

"Now the president on his own accord came back to Parliament and said I misunderstood the question and therefore I seek to clarify that question."

READ: Bosasa saga: Ramaphosa must admit he lied to parliament-Malema

DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Saturday, speaking at his party's Gauteng East campaign launch in Germiston, said this went beyond campaign financing. 

"This is a kind of insider trading – where a company “invests” heavily in a candidate, knowing that it will pay off multiple times over if the candidate is successful through preferential treatment when it comes to tenders. No wonder the President didn’t declare this payment – it’s dirty money," he said. 

Maimane called for a full investigation into the matter. 

"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. Plus he must still show us his son’s contracts with Bosasa along with details of the money paid to him."

ALSO READ: DA calls for investigation into Ramaphosa family, Bosasa relationship

Read more on:    politics
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