Wednesday, 27 March 2019

I DID NOT LIE : RAMAPHOSA ON R500 000 DONATION


President Cyril Ramaphosa has maintained he did not lie to parliament and that the R500,000 donation from Bosasa boss Gavin Watson was paid to his presidential campaign and not to his son Andile.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the presidency said the money paid to Andile’s company, Blue Crane Capital, is not linked to the donation made to the CR17 campaign.

The presidency confirmed that Blue Crane Capital received a total of R2m from Bosasa, now African Global Operations (AGO), for consultancy work which is separate to the R500,000 paid to the campaign which had nothing to do with Andile.

The money was paid to the CR17 campaign through an attorney's trust account used for fundraising for the campaign. This was done to hide the identities of the donors.

However, it is not clear why Watson informed former Bosasa auditor Peet Venter that the donation to the campaign was for Andile who it seems was not part of his father’s campaign.

"I wasn't aware of what the relationship was and why [Watson] would make a payment to the son of the deputy president of South Africa," Venter told the state capture commission of inquiry.

According to the presidency statement, when Ramaphosa replied to a DA question in the National Assembly he was under the impression that it was in relation to the business contract his son’s company, Blue Crane Capital, had entered into with Bosasa and not the donation.

Upon realising that he had confused the two, he corrected this error by writing to the speaker in November in which he said: “I have been subsequently informed that the payment referred to in the supplementary question by the leader of the opposition does not relate to that contract.

“I have been told that the payment to which the leader of the opposition referred was made on behalf of Mr Gavin Watson into a trust account that was used to raise funds for a campaign established to support my candidature for the presidency of the African National Congress.”

The presidency said the donation has been paid back but is being held in a trust account.

“The funds amounting to R500,000, have been placed in an attorney’s trust account until allegations against Mr Watson and AGO have been clarified,” the statement read, reiterating Ramaphosa’s willingness to appear before the commission.

“This gesture also serves to encourage other South Africans to answer the call by deputy chief justice Zondo for witnesses to step forward and assist the commission in its hearing of evidence.” sowetan

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