Cyril Ramaphosa safe for now over Bosasa donation

SAFE President Cyril    Ramaphosa
SAFE President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa is off the hook, for now, regarding the R500 000 Bosasa – now known as African Global Operations – donated to his campaign for the ANC presidency last year.

The ANC’s integrity commission chairperson, George Mashamba, told City Press last week the commission would launch an investigation only once the matter was referred to it by the party’s national executive committee (NEC), the highest decision-making body.

“We deal with issues that have been referred by the NEC. We don’t just respond to the issue on the political arena. We will deal with the issue once it is referred to us by the NEC and not anybody else. According to our terms of reference we won’t deal with an issue which has not been referred to us as the committee,” Mashamba said.

He urged the public to take up the issue with ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule if there was concern about the transaction.

However, it remains to be seen whether the integrity commission, which has been described as “toothless”, will have the guts to take action against Ramaphosa if the matter is brought to its attention.

The integrity commission was established after the 2012 Mangaung conference to protect the ANC’s image “by ensuring that urgent action is taken to deal with public officials, leaders and members of the ANC who face damaging allegations of improper conduct”.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane warned last week that his party would take legal action against the presidency and the ANC.

“We have requested an inquiry into Bosasa. The system of corruption is oppressing our people and as such if the ANC does not set up an inquiry, we will take legal action against the presidency and the party,” he said.

The Bosasa donation scandal came to light after Maimane quizzed Ramaphosa during a question and answer session in Parliament last month about R500 000 the Bosasa firm paid into his son Andile Ramaphosa’s trust account.

Ramaphosa responded by saying that he would take his son to the police station if there was evidence of corruption.

“It was brought to my attention some time ago. I proceeded to ask my son ... He runs a financial consultancy business and he consults for a number of companies.

"One of those companies is Bosasa, where he provides services on entrepreneurship, particularly on the procurement process. Regarding this payment, I can assure you, Mr Maimane, that I asked him whether this was money obtained illegally‚ unlawfully – and he said this was a service that was provided.

“He even showed me a contract he signed with Bosasa. The contract deals with issues of integrity‚ anticorruption.”

Ramaphosa changed his tune days later, saying: “I have been subsequently informed that the payment referred to in the supplementary questions by the leader of the opposition does not relate to that contract.

“I have been told that the payment to which the leader of the opposition referred was made on behalf of Mr Gavin Watson into a trust account that was used to raise funds for a campaign established to support my candidature for presidency of the ANC.

“The donation was made without my knowledge. I was not aware of the existence of the donation at the time that I answered the questions in the National Assembly.”

The Ramaphosa campaign has resolved to return the Bosasa funds.

The DA wants an independent inquiry headed by a retired judge to be selected by the Chief Justice to fully investigate the Bosasa scandal.

According to the DA, Bosasa receives billions of rands in lucrative tenders from government and a number of Cabinet ministers and ANC leaders are believed to have benefited from the company.

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