Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: SIYABULELA DUDA
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: SIYABULELA DUDA

The presidency said on Wednesday that President Cyril Ramaphosa was committed to appearing before the Zondo inquiry, following further revelations about his son's ties to controversial facilities company Bosasa. 

This commitment formed part of a statement by the presidency explaining the relationship between Ramaphosa's son Andile and Bosasa — now African Global Operations (AGO) — which has been implicated in allegations of extensive bribery and corruption in order to win billions of rand in government contracts.

News24 reported on Wednesday that Andile Ramaphosa confirmed his Blue Crane Capital netted about R2m in accumulated monthly payments from Bosasa since February 2018. 

According to the report, the president's son provided “advisory” work on more than 20 government and private contracts in Uganda and Kenya he had identified, and partnered with Bosasa to execute. 

Earlier in the day, DA leader Mmusi Maimane had called on Cyril Ramaphosa to appear before the commission, headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, following the news report and testimony before the injury. 

Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko explained that in April 2017, Blue Crane Capital began discussions with Bosasa to explore possible business opportunities in certain East African countries.

In December 2017, an advisory mandate was signed between Blue Crane Capital and Bosasa, and in January 2018 an anti-bribery and corruption policy.

“According to information made public by Blue Crane, the contract stipulated a monthly retainer of R150,000, which was later increased to R230,000. By the time Blue Crane terminated the contract in January 2019, following revelations at the Zondo commission, AGO had paid Blue Crane about R2m for work done in fulfilment of the contract,” Diko said.

“President Ramaphosa was made aware of the business relationship between his son’s business and AGO in September 2018 after he was informed about a rumour that Mr Andile Ramaphosa had received a payment of R500,000 from AGO. Mr Andile Ramaphosa explained to the president the nature of the business and showed him a copy of the contract.”

Ramaphosa subsequently learnt after incorrectly replying to a question by Maimane in the National Assembly in November that R500,000 had been paid as a donation by Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson to his ANC election campaign and was not, as he believed at the time, related to his son's business contract.

The donation of R500,000 by Watson to Ramaphosa's campaign “was distinct from, and unrelated to, the contract between Blue Crane and AGO”, Diko said.

“The donation from Mr Watson was sought and obtained by the CR17 campaign without the president’s knowledge. This followed a decision by the campaign managers that the president should not be provided with the identity of donors or amounts pledged.

"The president has subsequently been informed that, following revelations at the commission of inquiry into state capture, the former CR17 campaign managers took a decision to return the donation. The funds amounting to R500,000, have been placed in an attorney’s trust account until allegations against Mr Watson and AGO have been clarified.”

ensorl@businesslive.co.za