President Cyril Ramaphosa, bottom left, responds to oral questions in parliament. Picture: GCIS/ELMOND JIYANE
President Cyril Ramaphosa, bottom left, responds to oral questions in parliament. Picture: GCIS/ELMOND JIYANE

President Cyril Ramaphosa has again distanced himself from controversial facilities management group Bosasa, saying on Monday he had not received any donations from the firm.

The company has secured multi-million rand tenders with the government in recent years. In 2017, it changed its name to African Global Operations.

The company has also been linked to Ramaphosa’s son, Andile Ramaphosa.  However, in a recent response to DA leader Mmusi Maimane, the company said it did not have a contract with the president’s son.

Maimane had filed a Promotion of Access to Information Act  request to the firm, after Ramaphosa intially suggested that there was a contract during a question and answer session in parliament, before issuing a statement a few days later to clarify that the contract was not with his son, but was a R500,000 donation to his campaign for the ANC presidency.

In a written reply to a question from EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu which was public on Monday, Ramaphosa said: “I have not received any donation, either in my official or any other capacity, from African Global Operations”. 

“As I indicated in a letter to the speaker of the National Assembly on 16 November 2018, the payment to which the leader of the opposition referred was made on behalf of Mr Gavin Watson [the CEO of African Global Operations] into a trust account that was used to raise funds for a campaign established to support my candidature for the presidency of the African National Congress.”

Ramaphosa said the donation was sought and obtained without his knowledge.

“I was not aware of the existence of the donation at the time that I answered the question in the National Assembly. Since I did not receive any donation from African Global Operations no declaration was necessary,” he said.

In a separate reply to a question from COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota, Ramaphosa said he was considering the Political Party Funding Bill with urgency. The proposed law seeks to provide guidelines and new regulations on the funding of political parties. It also includes a ban on donations from foreign sources and a requirement for parties to disclose all donations above a certain threshold.

“The Political Party Funding Bill is one of the bills that I am currently considering. Due to the importance attached to legislation, I have a constitutional obligation of ensuring that, while expediting the process, a bill that has been passed into law is not vulnerable to legal challenge and that it is constitutionally compliant. I can assure the honourable member that I am applying my mind with the urgency and thoroughness the bill demands,” said Ramaphosa.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za