Andile Ramaphosa denies ever using his 'influence' to secure Bosasa tenders

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Andile Ramaphosa is seen with Shanduka employees. (Lauren Mulligan, Gallo Images, Sunday Times, file)
Andile Ramaphosa is seen with Shanduka employees. (Lauren Mulligan, Gallo Images, Sunday Times, file)

President Cyril Ramaphosa's son, Andile Ramaphosa, has responded to a text message in which a Bosasa employee stated Ramaphosa Jr would use his "influence" to secure tenders.

"I have never offered to use my 'influence' to assist AGO [Bosasa] nor have I ever been in a position to do so," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Bosasa changed its name to African Global Operations (AGO) in July 2017.

Earlier on Wednesday, News24 revealed for the first time that a contract between Ramaphosa Jr's company, Blue Crane Capital, and corruption-tainted Bosasa netted him R2m in advisory fees since February 2018.

This was in connection with more than 20 projects in Uganda and Kenya that Blue Crane had identified, and Bosasa was brought on board to implement together with Chinese security and surveillance technology manufacturer Dahua. 

READ: IN DEPTH: From China to Krugersdorp: Andile Ramaphosa and the Bosasa 'billions'

Dahua introduced Ramaphosa Jr to Bosasa in April 2017.

Ramaphosa admitted to the findings of a News24 investigation during an interview on Monday, during which a screenshot of a text message from a Bosasa employee, Riaan van der Merwe, to the company's former chief operations officer, Angelo Agrizzi, in March 2017, was shown to him.

andile ramaphosa

A screenshot of a text message from Bosasa employee Riaan van der Merwe to Angelo Agrizzi.

"Hi Angelo. Dahua wants to set up an (sic) private appointment with you to meet Andile Ramaphosa to structure a relationship/joint venture for the companies to tender on projects and they will use their influence to secure projects. They are looking for a strong trustworthy partner that can deliver results, Please advise on the way forward."

He adds that "they" wanted to meet the following week.

Agrizzi responded: "No problem let's do it."

Meeting

The meeting never took place and Ramaphosa denied that he had ever used his "influence" to secure contracts. The first meeting took place in April 2017.

"My company, Blue Crane, has never conducted any business with government or state-owned entities and has never entered into an obviously conflicted business arrangement within any section of the South African or any other government."

He added that the issue of a R500 000 payment, which came to light again during evidence before the Zondo commission into state capture on Tuesday, was "distinct and unrelated" to the contract Blue Crane had with AGO.

READ: #Statecaptureinquiry: 'I never questioned Watson - former Bosasa auditor on various payments, including R500k to Ramaphosa's son

Meanwhile, leader of the official opposition Mmusi Maimane said he had written to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the state capture commission, asking that the president be subpoenaed to appear before the commission to give evidence.

"The revelations emanating from testimony before the Zondo commission yesterday [Wednesday] confirm that President Ramaphosa and his family are deeply embroiled in a corruption and bribery scandal involving Bosasa," Maimane said.

"What is now clear is that Bosasa and the Ramaphosas are working together in multiple transactions. It simply cannot be that money from Bosasa so freely flows to the Ramaphosa family, without scrutiny. The president must explain to the nation under oath the full extent of the now exposed business relationship between himself, his family, and Bosasa," he added.

"The South African electorate cannot go to the polls [on May 8] without knowing the full truth about a compromised president who is running to be re-elected. These revelations have shattered the well-peddled myth that corruption in the ANC was simply a feature of Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family," Maimane said.

Election donation

News24 previously reported that Bosasa had donated millions of rands to the ANC and had set up special elections war rooms at a cost of R6m for the past three elections.

The DA filed a complaint with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) following the publication of these revelations.

The IEC has confirmed it is investigating the complaint.

On Wednesday, spokesperson for the Presidency Khusela Diko confirmed to News24 that Ramaphosa's office would issue a statement in due course.

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