OPINION

Investigate Ramaphosa's failures to declare conflict of interest – Mmusi Maimane

DA believes the president has misled his own Cabinet and in doing so, breached the Executive Ethics Code

#Bosasagate: President Ramaphosa failures to declare conflict of interest, Public Protector needs to investigate

18 April 2019

Today I viewed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Declaration of Interests for the 2018/19 financial year since his election in February 2018. Once a year, the President is required by the Executive Ethics Code to disclose the details of all his financial interests to the Secretary of Cabinet, Dr Cassius Lubisi.

I can confirm that President Ramaphosa has failed to declare the clear conflict of interest that exists between himself, his son Andile, and the corrupt systems management company Bosasa.

It is our view that President Ramaphosa has misled his own Cabinet and in doing so breached the Executive Ethics Code. I will therefore approach the Public Protector to formally include this omission by the President in her ongoing investigation into what can only be described as insider trading between the Ramaphosas and Bosasa.

Section 2(3)(d) of the Executive Ethics Code is clear that Executive members may not "use their position or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person." The Public Protector must investigate whether President Ramaphosa has indeed breached this section of the Executive Ethics Code.

The conflict of interest in clear to see. In the lead up to Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as ANC President, Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson gave a R500 000 “donation” to Mr Ramaphosa’s campaign. Once Ramaphosa was elected, his son, Andile, earned at least R2 million rand from Bosasa for “strategic and financial advisory services” – emanating from a contractual agreement the President told Parliament he had seen.

Moreover, one of his first acts as President was to appoint Arthur Fraser as the Director-General of Correctional Services. This allowed a man of with a questionable track record to oversee the adjudication of lucrative tenders in a government department that Bosasa continues to do much work for.

We cannot ignore the fact that Bosasa is a company that has been bribing ANC politicians for the last two decades. Bosasa contracts with the ANC government total over R10 billion. Like Zuma-Gupta, the Ramaphosa-Bosasa relationship follows the standard ANC triangle of corruption: the ANC-in-government gives lucrative tenders to connected cronies who bribe officials, which in return funds the ANC.

There is still much we do not know about this relationship. What we do know is that:

- Cyril Ramaphosa received a R500 000 ‘donation’ from Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson, towards his ANC Presidency campaign;

- Andile Ramaphosa had a contractual agreement with Bosasa for ‘advisory services’, where he earned approximately R2 million during his father’s first year as President;

- President Ramaphosa told Parliament the contract he saw was above board; and

- Andile Ramaphosa’s business partner attempted to secure a R400 million loan from Eskom at a time his father headed up Eskom’s “turnaround”

From Bosasa to Eskom loan deals, Andile Ramaphosa is unduly benefitting due to the fact that his father happens to be the President. This is no different to former President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, and his dodgy business dealings that were in part facilitated by his father’s political connections.

Their remains a circle of secrecy between the Ramaphosa’s, ANC and Bosasa. It is crucial this secrecy is broken and South Africa is told the full truth about this corruption scandal involving the President.

The DA will punish corruption with 15 years in prison, not reward it with another 5 years in the Presidency. South Africans have the power to bring this change at the ballot boxes on 8 May.

Issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 18 April 2019