African Global Operations, or Bosasa as it was previously named, has come out to clarify that its CEO Gavin Watson donated the infamous R500 000 to Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential campaign, and not the company.
Executive director and spokesperson for Bosasa Papa Leshabane told eNCA in an interview on Friday that there was nothing unethical about the payment.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane led a protest to Bosasa’s headquarters in Krugersdorp on Friday morning. He called the payment a “bribe” in return for future tenders and revealed that he had filed a complaint with the office of the Public Protector to investigate the relationship between Bosasa and Ramaphosa.
The issue first made headlines when Maimane asked Ramaphosa about the payment, which was ostensibly for his son Andile Ramaphosa, during a question-and-answer session in the National Assembly earlier this month.
Ramaphosa initially said that he had questioned his son “at close range” over the matter, and had been shown a contract been Ramaphosa junior’s financial consultancy company and Bosasa.
He said if there was anything untoward about the payment, he would personally take his son to the police station.
Payment from suspected front company
Last week, however, a day after we uncovered who owned the attorney’s trust account into which the donation was paid, Ramaphosa backtracked on his original response.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, Ramaphosa rectified his initial oral reply. He said he had since then become aware that the payment had in fact been a donation to his presidential campaign.
His former campaign managers said in a statement on Saturday that Ramaphosa would be returning the funds to Watson/Bosasa.
We reported on Friday that the payment was made through a suspected front company, Miotto Trading and Advisory Services, in what appears to have been an attempt to hide the origins of the payment. Funds were transferred into Miotto’s account from Watson’s personal account and from Miotto into a trust account operated by Sandton-based law firm Edelstein Farber Grobler.
“From where we sit, there is nothing unethical about it,” Leshabane told eNCA.
“It was a personal transaction between Gavin Watson and whoever requested the money and we don’t want to get into that terrain.”
Watson would be happy to take the funds back, he added.