Ramaphosa to address 'a matter which has embroiled me' this week
'I thought I should do something unprecedented and start off by addressing a matter which has embroiled me‚ matters that affect my personal life'
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has told MPs that he would be addressing his personal matters that have been thrown into the public domain in the next two days.
In what appeared to be a pre-emptive strike to prevent opposition MPs from using the revelation of his alleged string of extra-marital affairs against him shortly before taking questions in the National Assembly on Thursday‚ Ramaphosa told lawmakers he felt the need to apprise them on the issue even though it was a personal matter.
This follows a report in one of the weekend newspapers that the deputy president was involved in love affairs with several women‚ including some who were university students.
He told the Sunday Times that he had an affair with one of the women who was his private medical doctor but that it ended eight years ago.
Ramaphosa‚ who is seen as one of the leading contenders in the ANC leadership race to replace President Jacob Zuma‚ said on Wednesday that he expected to be held accountable on the matter
"I thought I should do something unprecedented and start off by addressing a matter which has embroiled me‚ matters that affect my personal life. I thought because I work with all you right across party lines‚ in many ways all of you are my colleagues‚ just to say that I will be addressing this matter in a day or two.
"This one does because I do need to take responsibility and be accountable. I have a sense that because we are all colleagues‚ much as this matter is a personal one‚ I should make this type of statement‚" said Ramaphosa."
While he was facing MPs for the first time since the reports came to the surface‚ his oral question and answer session ended with no MPs raising the matter with him.
Turning to matters that were on the table‚ Ramaphosa told MPs that parliament had powers in terms to the constitution to sanction cabinet ministers who were snubbing oversight meetings of parliamentary committees without good reasons.
Ramaphosa was responding to a question from the EFF's Ntombovuyo Mente‚ who wanted to know what action he had taken in his capacity as leader of government business in parliament against public service minister Faith Muthambi for staying away from a recent meeting of her oversight committee.
The public service portfolio committee had wanted to grill Muthambi about her spending hundreds of thousands of rand of public money to fly her family members to Cape Town for her budget vote and hiring friends of relatives in the department.
Asked about the controversial granting of diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe‚ Ramaphosa said the decision had not been taken by international relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.