Snuki Zikalala: Ramaphosa's integrity 'dented' over handling of Watson donation - he 'has to grow up'

2019-09-04 08:38
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Daily Sun)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Daily Sun)

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As former Bosasa chief Gavin Watson's family closes the chapter on his life, the ANC Veterans' League head Snuki Zikalala says President Cyril Ramaphosa "has to grow up" after his integrity was "dented" due to his handling of a R500 000 donation scandal.

Watson, who died in a car crash last week and was laid to rest in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, died before the matter - which is the subject of a Public Protector investigation and a subsequent court challenge of that process by Ramaphosa - could be resolved.

READ | Public Protector's 'counsel' helps Ramaphosa dodge Bosasa question

The Eastern Cape-born businessman donated R500 000 to Ramaphosa's bid to become ANC president in 2017. Bosasa, tainted by years of scandals and investigations, changed its name to African Global Operation (AGO).

"I think the recent events have dented his integrity a little bit, but I think he has to grow up and we will support him in ensuring that he brings his integrity back as long as the president is honest," Zikalala told News24 on Monday.

The president has gone from "blundering" an initial question posed to him by DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Bosasa-related matters in Parliament to facing the Public Protector and a possible money laundering probe.

Report on review

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's investigation into the donation found Ramaphosa deliberately misled Parliament.

READ | 'They did nothing wrong': Ramaphosa on CR17 payments to politicians

She also requested that the police and National Prosecuting Authority look into suggestions of money laundering due to the movement of funds between third party accounts and those the president's campaign used to run his bid.

Ramaphosa has since taken the report on review.

"I think on the Bosasa issue he made a big mistake, before going to Parliament he should have sat with his foundation to find out the truth because as president of the country, your public pronouncement must be nothing else but the truth. The public must believe what you are saying," said Zikalala.

He said he believed Ramaphosa could find a way out of the "conundrum" he is currently facing if he is truthful with the society he serves as head of state.

READ | CR17 leaks part of 'sinister agenda' - Ramaphosa

The ANC Veterans' League president said he believed the president when he said the donations were never linked to any favours.

"Of course, of the funding itself he said it was not attached to favours but he must put the truth in front of society, in terms of his funding and where it came from," said the long-standing ANC member.

Ramaphosa has come under fire; his foundation's bank statements have been leaked, and were subsequently widely shared on social media.

Zikalala said the ANC's veterans continued to believe in the president and would support him if he remained true to implementing the party's policies and restoring the party's values.

"But if he moves off, of course we will take him head on, but we still believe he is the best leader we have currently compared to what we had over the last 10 years," added Zikalala.

While critical of Ramaphosa's handling of this issue, the Veterans' League president maintains Ramaphosa is the only suitable leader for the South Africa, cautioning against a series of attempts from within the ANC to "fight back" against the country's president and his attempts to stabilise both the country and the party.

Fightback very real

"There is a fight back, it's well-orchestrated, it's well planned; that’s why they are bringing all these leaks, to weaken the ANC," said Zikalala.

He said those who had benefited from the state capture project, which saw mass looting of state coffers and wide-scale maladministration, were pushing back against an attempt to clean the party and country of the stain of corruption.

"Those involved in state capture and counter revolution as we call it can see the orange overalls coming and so what is good for them is they must destroy the ANC, weaken the ANC… some of them did not even campaign for the ANC," said Zikalala referring to the May 2019 general elections.

He claimed some of his fellow comrades were hoping the ANC would lose its national majority and be forced into a coalition.

"Those people still have resources, their actions are well co-ordinated and [they] have nothing to lose," continued Zikalala.

He said the only way to fight those against the party renewing itself was through insisting on implementing ANC policies, making sure services were delivered to communities in the country and those who destroyed the ANC infrastructure went to jail.

"Society cannot afford to be led by people who have no interest in the well-being of the majority," said Zikalala.

Mkhwebane has no 'credibility'

Weighing on Mkhwebane's term as the Public Protector thus far, which has had a polarising effect on many in political circles, Zikalala said she had not played an effective role in holding some officials to account and had in some instances intervened where she was not meant to.

"I think she was out of her depth in a number of issues, for instance in terms of her investigation into Estina and Vrede. There has been mass corruption in the North West and the Public Protector has not played its role there," remarked Zikalala.

Mkhwebane's investigation into the multi-million rand deal was set aside by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, which found she failed South Africans due to the manner in which she conducted her investigation into the dairy farm project.

"Looking at her credibility, we, as the Veterans' League, don't think she has any credibility. She has made a lot of blunders, but there is a parliamentary process and we leave her to that," he said.

Read more on:    bosasa  |  anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  snuki zikalala  |  politics
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