R500K Bosasa donation still haunts Ramaphosa
Durban - The R500 000 donation paid by the Bosasa boss Gavin Watson towards President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign to become ANC president still haunts the country's first citizen, with court proceedings around it now well underway at the North Gauteng High Court.
Ramaphosa and public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane are squaring off in court, as the statesman seeks to lodge a review against the report and have it set aside.
In a report last year, Mkhwebane found that Ramaphosa had “deliberately misled” Parliament with his claim that he had been unaware of the R500 000 donation, which he had told Parliament was a legitimate business transaction between Bosasa, and his son, Andile.
The president had even promised to personally march his son to the nearest police station if there was anything untoward about the business transaction.
The Bosasa donations investigation, which was lodged at the public protector's office by former DA leader Mmusi Maimane and EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, led to Mkhwebane unearthing nearly R1bn worth of donations towards Ramaphosa’s ultimately successful campaign to succeed Jacob Zuma as ANC president at the party’s 54th national conference in December 2017.
In her remedial action, Mkhwebane ordered Parliament to take action against Ramaphosa. However, Ramaphosa successfully interdicted the implementation of Mkhwebane’s recommendation and wants the report reviewed and set aside by the court.
On Tuesday in court, the president’s legal representative Wim Trengove argued before the North Gauteng High Court that his client was unaware of the identity of donors towards his bid to become the ANC president, a feat that he accomplished in December 2017 in Nasrec, when he defeated Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
Initially, when quizzed in Parliament on the donation in 2018, Ramaphosa claimed that the R500 000 payment had been made to his son, Andile, who had business interests with Bosasa.
In a letter to the then National Assemly Speaker Baleka Mbete, Ramaphosa then later reneged on his claim that the money had been paid to his son, and instead admitted that the funds had been paid in the form of a donation towards his quest to become ANC president.
On his surprising U-turn, Ramaphosa justified his initial denial by telling Mbete that he had originally been unaware of the fact that the money had been intended for his campaign.