EDITORIAL: Why Andile Ramaphosa's relationship with Bosasa is a problem

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President Cyril Ramaphosa (File, News24)
President Cyril Ramaphosa (File, News24)

Today's revelations that Andile Ramaphosa, the son of President Cyril Ramaphosa, received more money from Bosasa/African Global Operations than he previously admitted, shows to what extent the company went to buy influence, and presents a real danger to Ramaphosa's attempts to clean up corruption.

Duduzane Zuma was the direct link between former president Jacob Zuma and the Guptas. It is increasingly clear that Bosasa targeted Ramaphosa Jr to ingratiate themselves with the president's family.

READ: Andile Ramaphosa admits Bosasa paid him R2m

Ramaphosa Jr admitted that he received around R2m from the controversial facilities management and technology company. These payments were made over the course of 10 months in 2018 and started in the month that Ramaphosa became head of state after ousting the corrupted Zuma as head of state.

The payments by Bosasa/AGO to Ramaphosa Jr were made because of the latter's "advisory" services to the corruption-tainted company.

READ Bosasa to Maimane: 'No record of R500k contract with Andile Ramphosa'

He was supposed to link Gavin Watson's firm to business opportunities, but the relationship ended around the same time when the company's former chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi took to the stand at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

Severe political risks

While there is no allegation of any illegal activity on the part of Ramaphosa Jr, there is no doubt that his relationship with a company so deeply embroiled in state capture carries severe political risks for his father.

Bosasa/AGO seemingly was a company that spent millions of rand to bribe government officials, elected representatives and capture the ANC in order to score billions of rand in government contracts.

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

It has been in the news for more than a decade, with the Special Investigating Unit recommending criminal charges in 2009 and questions about its dealings with the state remaining in the public domain ever since.

Ramaphosa's aims are to clean up the state, restore good governance and eradicate corruption.

These efforts will be undermined by his son's involvement with a company deeply involved in capture and will provide fodder for political opponents who believe that the Ramaphosa government is impotent to act against graft and malfeasance.

The decision to look at Bosasa/AGO for business opportunities was a poor one by Ramaphosa Jr. He should have known better. It exposed him to a company which bought influence and seemingly bribed senior political figures. And he surely must have known about its history and the problems it could cause his father.

Did Bosasa/AGO bring in Ramaphosa because of his expertise or his connections? And why did Ramaphosa Jr associate with them?

The modus operandi of the state capture network was to target the children of political influencers, whether the surname was Zuma or Magashule. And now Ramaphosa too.

The president said he would be the first to march his children to the police if they found any wrongdoing. And his son has put him in a difficult position.

If there is anything more to Ramaphosa Jr's relationship with Bosasa, the time to come clean is now - because the Zondo commission has shown that the truth has a tendency to come out. Even if it takes time.

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