News / Opinion / Columns

Martin Williams
3 minute read
23 Jan 2019
9:35 am

Ramaphosa should clear the air of the Bosasa stench

Martin Williams

There should be full disclosure about the work Andile Ramaphosa performed for Bosasa, how much he was paid, and whether that was reasonable.

Andile Ramaphosa and his fiancee Bridget Birungi.

Of all the transactions carried out by Bosasa sleazeballs, one requires the most scrutiny – the R500 000 payment to Cyril Ramaphosa’s son Andile. There have been multiple versions of this story, including a presidential untruth in parliament.

The stench unleashed at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture by former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi (Agreasy? Greaser of palms) demands that the Andile deal be re-examined.

In parliament in November last year, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane produced a sworn affidavit from Peet Venter‚ stating that he (Venter) was told by Bosasa boss Gavin Watson to transfer the money for Andile Ramaphosa.

The president told parliament Andile had assured him he received legitimate payment for service to Bosasa through his business consultancy. “To this end‚ he actually even showed me a contract that he signed with Bosasa and the contract also deals with issues of integrity‚ anti-corruption”.

Ramaphosa said he would be the first to send his son to jail if Andile’s version proved false. Since then there have been several twists.

First, Andile denied that the October 2017 payment had anything to do with him.

The president then changed his tune, saying the money had been a donation by Watson to his (Cyril’s) leadership campaign within the ANC.

Ramaphosa claimed not to have known about the donation at the time, and it has since been returned.

The Bosasa link should have sounded alarm bells. To those who pay attention, the name Bosasa has been tainted for more than a decade, since Ngconde Balfour was correctional services minister and Linda Mti was in charge of our prisons. Both were linked to Bosasa scandals.

So ears pricked up when Cyril Ramaphosa told parliament his son showed him a Bosasa contract.

Even if the father was mistaken about the nature of the R500 000 payment, he has not retracted his statement that Andile had a contract and a business relationship with Bosasa. The president saw the contract. That’s a problem.

Whatever Agreasy’s motives, it is clear that hundreds of Bosasa payments were bribes. Agreasy told Judge Zondo at the commission that every Bosasa contract was tainted. Why would Andile’s contract be different?

The president claims to be fighting corruption. Right now, the name Bosasa reeks of corruption, almost in the Zupta league.

In these circumstances, there should be full disclosure about exactly what work Andile performed for Bosasa, how much he was paid for doing so, and whether that was a reasonable fee.

“Consultancy” can be a euphemism. Think of the consultancy firms tainted by the Guptas. The list includes McKinsey, KPMG, SAP, Trillian, Regiments, etc.

Andile Ramaphosa, who will be 37 next month, is no slouch academically.

Starting with a Bachelor of Business Science in finance, accounting & statistics from UCT in 2005, he boasts three masters’ degrees: from Fudan University, NYU Stern School of Business, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology School of Business and Management.

But after the disclosures about Bosasa’s motives for dishing out laundered money, questions about both Cyril and Andile Ramaphosa will linger unless they are fully answered.

Of course, they are innocent unless proven otherwise. But it would be better to clear the air.

Martin Williams, DA councillor.

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