President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS.

Johannesburg - Non-profit organisation The Wise Collective has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to withdraw from this year's Chairman's Conversation, saying his involvement was in "poor taste" in light of assault allegations previously levelled against PowerFM boss Given Mkhari.

Mkhari and his wife made headlines last year when they laid assault charges against each other following a domestic dispute at home.

The couple later withdrew the charges against each other and the case was withdrawn, with the couple opting to resolve the matter privately.

Despite this, The Wise Collective expressed dismay at Ramaphosa's participation in the event, especially given his commitment to dealing with gender-based violence.

The non-profit organisation laid into Mkhari over the domestic violence allegations, saying: "The chairman of PowerFM has flagrantly refused to account for his own involvement in gender-based violence as an accused in a publicly lodged case of domestic violence, all the while running a platform that purports to encourage the nation to 'speak truth to power'.

"Domestic violence is not a private matter, especially when a case has been lodged. It may happen in private but it has tremendous public consequences that call for every citizen to be accountable. Holding each other accountable is a critical element of how we will win against this scourge that's gripping the nation. As such, we at The Wise Collective believe it is in poor taste for the honourable president to participate [in] this chairman's conversation."

The organisation said it had written to Ramaphosa to ask him to withdraw from the event.

The Chairman's Conversation, now in its third year, will take place on Thursday night and will see Ramaphosa grilled on a series of issues plaguing South Africa. 

Ramaphosa is the third prominent figure to take the hot seat at the event, with previous guests including former president Thabo Mbeki and businessman Johann Rupert.

IOL