Clinical psychologist and former lecturer at UWC Dr Saths Cooper. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Tensions rose in the parliamentary interviews for the SABC board when Professor Saths Cooper was asked about his reported comments in connection with spy allegations made against President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Cooper was a leader of the SA Student Organisation (Saso) arrested and sentenced to Robben Island along with Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota and others for organising “Viva Frelimo" rallies in 1974.

He was among the candidates interviewed by the parliamentary communications portfolio committee to serve on the SABC board.

On Thursday, the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi claimed Cooper had dismissed Lekota’s allegation in order to be chosen for the board by the ANC parliamentary caucus.

Cooper denied Ndlozi’s assertions, saying he should listen to an interview he gave on the matter.

“In two instances, the movement he belonged to and the SACP investigated this matter. You go public and defend. I’m trying to establish in dismissing Lekota’s claims, were you playing to the gallery?” Ndlozi asked.

Cooper said: “Nothing could be further from the truth.” He said he had been unaware of Lekota’s utterances in Parliament when he was called by the media.

“I gave interviews about my knowledge. This SABC interview was farthest in my mind. I forgot about it

“I clearly said I’m not aware of that allegation,” he said about Lekota’s claims. He said all he knew was that Ramaphosa had been president of Saso at the University of Turfloop at the time. “If he (Lekota) has information to the contrary, fine, but I believe in speaking what I know about, not somebody’s version.”

The DA’s Phumzile van Damme noted with concern that ANC parliamentarians were “touched”.

“Why (do) people rise up when the name of Ramaphosa comes up? Can we please be allowed to ask our questions? ” Van Damme asked.

Political Bureau