On Friday, the Presidency confirmed that Cyril Ramaphosa has been granted an extension in his reply to Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s preliminary Bosasa report.
Presidency confirms that President Cyril Ramaphosa has been given extension to respond to @PublicProtector findings against him in the Bosasa investigation.
He was due to respond today.
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) June 21, 2019
A day after President Cyril Ramaphosa made assertions to the nation about growth, renewal and corruption-free governance, he had another mountain to climb, in the form of Mkhwebane’s investigation into the suspicious Bosasa donation.
How Ramaphosa got himself in trouble with the Public Protector
The president found himself with one foot out of his position and his ears haunted by the rattle of shackles, as he submitted his response to Mkhwebane’s probe regarding the origins and the intentions behind the R500 000 donation he supposedly received from Bosasa (no operating as African Global Operations).
True origins of Bosasa donation
When the matter was first brought to light by the Democratic Alliance, at a time when Bosasa was under the spotlight of Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo’s commission of inquiry into state capture, the president had brushed off the shoddy donation as money that was funnelled towards his ANC presidential campaign in 2017.
Anyone who has followed the state capture inquiry will know that the alleged relationship between Bosasa and the ANC is one that is seemingly founded on gluttony and the theft of state funds.
Alas, according to Ramaphosa, there was no malice behind the donation. However, revelations from his son, Andile Ramaphosa, forced him to amend the statement he had made in Parliament about the donation, and admit that this was, in fact, money received from Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson.
In his written submission to former Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, Ramaphosa tried to separate his donation from Watson to his son’s relationship with the embattled facilities management company.
“I had no reason to believe that there was anything untoward about the relationship,” he said.
He also reiterated the fact that all funds received for his presidential campaign were funnelled in anonymity.
His claim is that he deliberately chose to not be informed about who donated the money, a decision he supposedly made to avoid the urge to commit to nepotism when he became president.
“A deliberate decision had been taken by myself and those leading the campaign that I would not be involved in fundraising even as I would address meetings and have a few dinners with potential funders.
“We had also decided that I would not be provided with the identity of donors or the amounts pledged, as I did not want to feel under obligation to them in any shape or form at any time in the future,” he added.
The basis of Mkhwebane’s report on Ramaphosa
However, neither of these submissions were acceptable enough to sway Mkhwebane away from pursuing an investigation into the president’s dealings with Bosasa.
In her report, the Public Protector sought to find out if Ramaphosa had lied to Parliament about the origins of the donation and its journey into the president’s hands.
Found guilty of the above, the president would be in breach of the executive ethics code, something that has never been levelled against the head of state in South Africa.
What will happen now?
At this point, it is a waiting game. Once Ramaphosa finally submits his response, Mkhwebane will be allowed time to consider the president’s submission.
If by some miracle, Ramaphosa produces concrete evidence that exonerates him from all charges, then not only will Mkhwebane be forced to abandon her investigation, she will have to deal with the damage this will have on her already floundering reputation.
However, if this does not happen, Mkhwebane will still have to consider the president’s response in her final report.
Should Ramaphosa be found to have; a) misled Parliament and b) participated in money laundering, then not only does this breach the executive ethics code, but it also comes with a serious prison term.