President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign to rid government of corruption and state capture has been dented by his revelation that controversial government service provider, Bosasa has donated R500 000,00 through its CEO, Gavin Watson, to his ANC Presidential election campaign. His team then known as CR17 said they will pay back the R500 000 donation that was given to his 2017 ANC presidential campaign. This is according to Bejani Chauke, who was the CR17 campaign manager.
He said in a statement that the President himself was not involved in fundraising efforts and that he does not know who the donors were. According to the statement, President Ramaphosa, who was the Deputy President of the country and of the ANC at the time, was only requested to occasionally attend CR17 fundraising dinners.
The campaign team added, “At no point were any funds transferred to the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, his relations or to President Ramaphosa himself.” The President indicated in a letter to Speaker Baleka Mbete, that the donation by Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson was received without his knowledge in October 2017.
The DA’s Musi Maimane has called for a full investigation into the matter. “This is a kind of insider trading – where a company “invests” heavily in a candidate, knowing that it will pay off multiple times over if the candidate is successful through preferential treatment when it comes to tenders. No wonder the President didn’t declare this payment – it’s dirty money,” Maimane insisted.
EFF Leader Julius Malema said on Friday “The President must take full responsibility and admit that he lied to parliament and he knows what happens to people who lie to parliament.” There is no doubt that the EFF will find a way of ensuring that President Ramaphosa will be pestered in parliament for correcting his response to Maimane’s question.
The ANC’s Chief Whip in parliament, Jackson Mthembu tweeted on Friday, “When President Cyril Ramaphosa realised that he had given an incorrect answer to Parliament, he retracted the answer. He truthfully and honestly took parliament into his confidence and gave the correct answer today. Only a true leader can do this. I believe in him.”
The response by the campaigns team creates more questions than answers, such as:
• Was the CR17 and NDZ17 campaigns not supposed to have been thawed immediately after the ANC’s December 2017 National Conference?
• Does the ANC constitution make provision for the setting up of trusts for internal ANC elective conference campaigns?
• How much money was donated in total?
• Are there any other accounts that were opened for fundraising based on the teams’ response that the trust account was one avenue of housing funds raised during the campaign?
According to the CR17 campaign management team, various structures existed, including a finance task team whose sole responsibility was to raise funds for activities that would be undertaken by volunteers and other members of team CR17. Apparently 200 individuals across the country donated to the CR17 campaign. The team furthermore stated that to avoid conflicts of interests and to eliminate any expectation of “reciprocal intent, action or preferential treatment by donors, real or perceived,” the fundraising team was isolated from other operations.