Once again, we are politically amused by the double standards of the DA, especially with regards to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report of the R500 000 donation from the Bosasa chief executive towards the election campaign.
One should not exclude the fact that this money was neither directly received by President Cyril Ramaphosa, nor paid by him in his personal capacity to anyone.
These were funds allegedly received by his son Andile Ramaphosa.
The president was honest enough to return to Parliament and “correct” a misunderstanding.
At first, President Ramaphosa assumed that the parliamentary question by the DA was about Andile, his son, and his son’s business entity.
Ramaphosa stated: “It was brought to my attention a long time ago and I proceeded to ask my son what this was all about. He runs a financial consultancy business and he consults for a number of companies, and one of those companies is Bosasa, where he provides services of entrepreneurship.”
He stated in another article: “The president says if it turns out his son lied to him about payments, he will personally have him arrested.”
Ramaphosa explained in his response to Mkhwebane that it was after the parliamentary Q&A session had ended that his adviser informed him that the account that DA leader Mmusi Maimane was referring to was not Andile’s but an attorney’s account used by the CR17 campaign to raise funds for his party election campaign.
Ramaphosa claimed he and his campaign managers had made a “deliberate” decision not to be involved in fundraising activities, but to only address meetings and dinners with potential funders.
“We had decided that I would not be provided with the identity of donors or the amounts pledged, as I did not want to feel under obligation to them in any shape or form at any time in the future.”
“As a result, he was not aware that he had received payment from Watson. This was when he decided to ‘correct’ his response to Maimane in the National Assembly,” he explained.
There are two issues emanating from the above, showing the DA displaying a “double standard” approach.
Firstly, the timing of the Public Protector’s resurfacing of previous questions to her office with regards to Pravin Gordhan and President Cyril Ramaphosa is not only politically coincidental, but is very conspicuous and calculated, but that is another topic for another day.
Maimane is elated by the returning of this issue by the Public Protector, and is going out to ensure that justice is served.
He wants to punish the president for allegedly lying to him with regards to a transaction which he got via secret intelligence and which is related to a financial transaction in the company of Andile Ramaphosa.
He is overjoyed with the return of this issue, but he is also politically annoyed with the same Public Protector’s report pertaining to the Vrede dairy farm.
Since the report was not in the favour of Maimane and company the DA said that the latest court judgment in the Vrede dairy farm matter “once again proves that she’s not fit for office and that it will push for her removal.”
The court application was brought by the DA and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac).
Is it not convenient and hypocritical?
When the Public Protector adheres to the whims and fancies of the DA in the implication of specific cases, then she is protected politically and when her findings are against the DA, she is called to be ejected politically.
Second, the DA is harping about the issue and the amount of R500 000, which the president has acknowledged in Parliament, confirming that he was misinformed and apologised for his human error in the matter.
In the same breath, Maimane is actually sweeping under the carpet the fact that the DA paid, in consultant fees, an amount of R650 000 related to the DA self-instigated water crisis in Cape Town.
In January 2018, the Western Cape branch of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said the contract worth R650 000 given to former Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon’s company by the City of Cape Town to communicate information on the drought afflicting the city was morally corrupt, even if it passed legal muster.
“Tony Leon and an ex-employee of the City of Cape Town are being paid half a million rand to tell Capetonians that it is not raining,” provincial Cosatu leader Tony Ehrenreich said in a statement.
“It seems that there are many instances where the DA members and friends are getting legal but morally corrupt contracts with the city, for millions of rands.”
It is politically ingenious for Maimane to continue attacking Ramaphosa for a question posed directly to the president in Parliament.
Yes, the president initially answered incorrectly, but later, after consulting and investigation, returned and readdressed the issue with clarification, yet the same preacher of justice and anti-corruption decides to turn a blind eye towards the R650 000 paid to a retired DA leader and his company for “consultancy fees”.
The South African public is not that gullible.
If Ramaphosa’s animal rare game stock is fetching millions in sales, as reported in a transparent manner in the media, then any sensationalised accusations against the president of R500 000, not even directly linked to him, hold no water …. not even in a buffalo’s water hole.
Apologies Mmusi Maimane and the Double Standard DA! Not this time with your ‘bull’ story against a president and his family who are far too financially sound in their private and individual capacities!
• Ismail Cassimjee is a PhD student at the University of Zululand in African Studies, a political activist, researcher, adviser and community worker in the eThekwini region.