South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his campaign to become leader of the ruling ANC last year received a payment from a firm with links to his son and that he previously and inadvertently gave incorrect information about it to parliament. The donation is being returned.
Ramaphosa’s son Andile had a contract with African Global Operations, previously known as Bosasa, for the provision of consultancy services in a number of African countries, excluding South Africa, according to a statement from the presidency on Friday. The opposition Democratic Alliance had questioned a 500,000 rand ($35,732) payment from Bosasa, which has contracts with South African government institutions.
The payment was made on behalf of Bosasa head Gavin Watson into a trust account that was used to raise funds for the leadership campaign, Ramaphosa said in the statement. “The donation was made without my knowledge. I was not aware of the existence of the donation at the time that I answered the question.”
The president’s comments come as relationships between South African government and lawmakers with private businesses is under particular scrutiny. Ramaphosa pledged to clean up state corruption when he replaced Jacob Zuma as president in February, and a range of hearings and inquiries have since taken place. Ramaphosa won the ANC leadership election in December.
Ramaphosa’s answer isn’t good enough, according to DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
“He needs to tell us — and he needs to show us — exactly how much money he received from Bosasa, and what Bosasa got in return,” Maimane said in an emailed statement on Saturday. “Plus he must still show us his son’s contracts with Bosasa along with details of the money paid to him. There has to be a full investigation into this matter.”
Ramaphosa’s campaign team on Saturday said it will return the Bosasa donation, Cape Town-based News24 reported, citing a statement. The team said the president wasn’t aware of the payment because fundraising operations were kept separate from other matters in order to minimize any potential conflicts of interest, according to News24.