DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Thursday that the Public Protector must investigate President Cyril Ramaphosa’s failure to disclose his son’s dealings with Bosasa, the company alleged to have a long history of bribing government officials and funding the ANC to win lucrative government contracts.
Maimane, who viewed the President’s declaration of interests at the Union Buildings on Thursday, said Ramaphosa had not disclosed that his son Andile’s company, Blue Crane Capital had been paid R2-million by Bosasa over the last two years.
“As a South African, I applied to come and view the President’s public declarations. When I came in, it became common cause none of it has been declared. The President does not declare his relationship with Bosasa. He doesn’t declare his relationship that his son is getting business through Bosasa,” said Maimane.
Bosasa, now called African Global Operations (AGO), is reported to have scored R12-billion in government contracts between 2003 and 2019. Former COO Angelo Agrizzi, who is facing criminal charges along with other employees and former correction services officials, testified at the State Capture Inquiry about widespread allegations of corruption involving highly-ranked government officials
Bosasa donated R500,000 to Ramaphosa’s 2017 ANC Presidency campaign. In March 2019 his son revealed that he had received R2-million from the company since signing a contract in December 2017 to provide advisory services regarding Bosasa’s work in East Africa, according to Andile Ramaphosa.
He was reportedly introduced to Bosasa by officials at Chinese tech company Dahua Technology.
“We know the fact that his son is doing business with Bosasa and none of it is declared. This should have been declared for the people of South Africa because Bosasa is doing business with the state,” said Maimane.
The Executive Ethics Code requires Ramaphosa to disclose his financial interests to the Secretary of Cabinet, Cassius Lubisi.
It states that members of the executive may not “use their position or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person”.
It requires them to disclose their own financial interests and those of “the member’s spouse, permanent companion or dependent children, to the extent that the member is aware of those interests”.
The DA believes the President should have declared his son’s work with Bosasa and wants Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to include the issue in her ongoing investigation into the company’s donation to Ramaphosa’s election campaign and its payments to Andile.
Any citizen can apply to view Ramaphosa’s declared financial interests at the Union Buildings and Maimane said the President had revealed little, raising questions about whether he was hiding information. Ramaphosa built a vast business empire and put his various shareholdings into a blind trust after he was elected deputy president in 2014.
“What other companies have the practice of giving gifts to the President that have not been declared? That’s the question we should all ask,” said Maimane.
Ahead of the 8 May elections, the DA has used the Bosasa scandal and Ramaphosa’s inconsistent responses to questions on the issue as evidence to further its claim that the ANC remains defined by corruption after former president Jacob Zuma was replaced as leader.
“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,” said Maimane on Thursday.
Andile Ramaphosa has called his decision to work with Bosasa an “oversight” but denied that he abused his access to power.
“I have never offered to use my ‘influence’ to assist AGO or any other company to secure tenders, nor have I ever been in a position to do so,” he said last month.
The President’s spokesperson Khusela Diko did not respond to requests for comment. DM
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Watermelons were originally cultivated in Africa.