Bosasa boss attended my son’s wedding – Ramaphosa

 

 

Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson was among the 1 000 guests at the wedding of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s son, Andile.

This is according to an affidavit sent by the president to the commission of inquiry into state capture, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

In a six-page affidavit outlining his encounters with the Gupta family and Bosasa associates, Ramaphosa revealed that he has been informed that both Watson and Bosasa director Trevor Mathenjwa attended his son’s wedding in August last year.

“Over a 1000 people attending this event including between 150 and 200 guests guests who flew from South Africa for the occasion,” the affidavit reads.

“I have no recollection of any interaction with them at any event.”

In March, Andile Ramaphosa told News24 that he was paid R2-million by Bosasa.

“It was a severe oversight on our part,” Andile told News24 of a deal his company signed with the Bosasa group in December 2017. According to the Nes24 report, his company Blue Crane Capital signed an “advisory mandate” with Bosasa, resulting in it being receiving a monthly retainer fee of R150 000, which was later bumped up to R230 000. Blue Crane Capital was contracted to provide advice on more than 20 public and private sector contracts in Uganda and Kenya.

Ramaphosa’s affidavit comes just a week after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a damning report which found that the president had deliberately misled Parliament when he answered a parliamentary question about a payment received by the CR17 campaign from Bosasa.

Mkhwebane also found that he had breached the Executive Ethics Code by not disclosing the donations to the campaign.

In her investigations into allegations of an improper relationship between Ramaphosa and Bosasa, now called African Global Operations, Mkhwebane said she had found evidence that indicated that some of the money collected through the CR17 campaign was paid into the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation and to other beneficiaries from the foundation.


Ramaphosa announced last Sunday that he would seek review of the public protector’s report which he described as “fundamentally and irretrievably flawed”.

In Ramaphosa’s Zondo commission affidavit, he also reveals that in August 2016 he took a tour of a call centre “at which volunteers were assisting the ANC in its campaign in the local government elections”. The call centre was located at Bosasa’s headquarters.

In January, former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi told the commission that such call centres were provided by the controversial firm to the ANC free of charge. He further alleged that Bosasa’s help with ANC campaigns was one of the many favours made to former minister Nomvula Mokonyane in exchange for her loyalty.

Ramaphosa’s affidavit to the commission comes after Zondo requested that the president make a sworn statement to the commission about any encounters he might have had with the Gupta family and Bosasa during his time in the national executive.

Zondo announced on Friday that he had reached out to the president, asking for help obtaining sworn statements from past and present members of the Cabinet relating to their interactions with the Guptas and Bosasa.

According to Zondo, Ramaphosa has made an undertaking to assist the commission in this regard. He sent his affidavit to the commission in July, Zondo said.

In his affidavit, Ramaphosa recounts three encounters with the Gupta brothers.

At two of the encounters — at media the ANC national conference in 2012 and at a media briefing after the 2014 national elections — “nothing of any consequence was discussed”, the affidavit reads.

“I never engaged with them beyond basic greetings, pleasantries and common courtesies.”

The third encounter was a 2016 meeting with who Ramaphosa says he believes was Tony Gupta. The meeting related to the closure of the bank accounts belonging to Gupta-owned companies.

Ramaphosa also made a request that the affidavit be made public prior to his giving oral evidence in an effort to avoid any speculation about its contents, Zondo said.

Zondo announced that he had also asked Ramaphosa, in his capacity as ANC president, to help him obtain similar evidence from members of the ruling party.

“In response to all this, President Ramaphosa indicated that he fully agreed with me that it was necessary that leaders in government and in the ruling party should come before the commission,” Zondo said.

During his second appearance before the commission, Agrizzi alleged that Bosasa donated millions to the ANC’s top six leadership. 

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.
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