Bosasa ‘donation’ exposes empty Ramaphosa self-styled State-Capture-Buster status

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Clyde Ramalaine

-The DA invented capture as its campaign, it allowed Ramaphosa to generously use it to get in, now it’s unleashing the same on him –

The devil is in the detail” a variant of the earlier phrase “God is in the detail”, is an adage that refers to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details, meaning that something might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected.

There is little doubt that the Bosasa ‘donation’ or payment in its known and unknown details, is increasingly becoming an albatross around the neck of Ramaphosa. As in the case of the Marikana massacre, which Ramaphosa until now, has been evading in beginning to bring to a closure with a straightforward visit.

His handling of the Bosasa ‘donation’ scandal attests vintage Ramaphosa style of closing your eyes, crossing fingers and hoping that if you stay silent long enough, it will go away. We saw it also on the Bird Island Boys scandal, when Ramaphosa despite being active in discourse and receiving an acknowledged letter from among others, TMoSA Foundation on his role as the Secretary General of the ANC at the time, until now opted to be silent.

State Capture, the sexy “third C” of the Democratic Alliance campaign trilogy of cadre deployment, corruption and capture, coined as far back as 2009, became the focal and rallying battle cry for the CR17 campaign. He was going to summit the Mt. ANC and later Mount SA, on the basis of that, capitalising on the so-called errors of his predecessor.

State Capture then given mileage and concretized into our national discourse by the report of former public protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela has matured into a State Capture Commission where it increasingly appears political scores and factional organisational politics are being settled.

Back in 2017 when some of us cautioned that the CR17 campaign was feather-light on ANC policy position diaphragm but top-heavy with State Capture claims, some argued State Capture should be Ramaphosa’s core focus. Every statement of Ramaphosa in his campaign to ANC high office included this theme. He would meet with the tripartite alliance and speak State Capture. He met with news editors and bowed before them in praise singing as to their unique role in uncovering the extent of State Capture that he claimed he and others had no clue about.

It didn’t take much to see Ramapohosa was framing himself the State-Capture-buster, he would suck the marrow of the proverbial bone on the topic. So important was it to keep State Capture alive, because his legitimacy as buster would show him as the clean guy, framed as part of the ‘angels’ as our discourse is brow-beaten to lead.

So obsessed was Ramaphosa to paint his previous boss with State Capture and himself clean that he on November 12 at a poorly attended Thuma Mina campaign rally at the Winter Rose, Mdantsane East London stadium, blamed the woes of the country on the last ten years. Ramaphosa addressing hundreds of ANC supporters at the Winter Rose stadium in Mdantsane is on record to have said: “We are fixing things, and even those who were stealing money are on their heels because we want our money back so that we can use it for service delivery. We want to fix things because we want to create jobs because our people are not working.” Again, we see someone who has the audacity to absolve himself from the role (direct and indirect), functionary responsibility and constitutional duty derelict when he pretends, he was not part of the administration, the same he accuses.

It was, therefore, a strange twist of events for the undiscerning eye, yet not at all peculiar for those who know to witness the day coming when the arsenal of State Capture accusations led by its original inventor, the DA, locking its focus on Ramaphosa as its target. It was always just a matter of time before, caretaker president Ramaphosa would be implicated in his pet subject of State Capture, as the DA in this season leads. It would be the same DA who would ask a simple question that Ramaphosa misunderstood and was eager to respond to without seeing where it was leading.

Two weeks ago, Ramaphosa wrote a letter to the speaker as a second response in attempt of rectifying his earlier oral statement delivered in the House on November 6, in which he firstly boldly claimed the R500,000.00 received from Bosasa into his businessman son Andile’s trust account was for work done predicated on a standard service provider contract agreement. He on the day in question, was at pains to claim that he personally has ascertained the full details of the R500,000.00 and could assure the DA that everything is in order on that score. The DA did not relent instead it was now applying to have access to the details of the contract between Andile and Bosasa. Seeing this was going to be a problem, Ramaphosa, as is claimed by his supporters, was advised that the R500k was really for his CR17 campaign, hence he needed to rectify his statement to the House. Subsequent to his two diametrically opposed statements on the same subject, Bosasa put out its own statement, leaving us none for the wiser. Truly the devil is in the detail.

In the aftermath of his second written statement, the spin-doctors clearly caught unawares and with eggs on their faces made frantic promises of the campaign team meeting planned for Monday, November 18, to unpack what really happened. Ten days later, it appears they were advised by the public relations machinery that drives the caretaker presidency to hang tight and ride the wave, since there is much happening and the State Capture Commission with testimonies from Gordhan, Manyi and the ANC top brass could be useful to serve as a much-needed deflection from the public’s interest in the Bosasa ‘donation’.

However, Ramaphosa’s second statement was equally fraught with contradictions and lends itself to raise more questions on the symbiotic relationships between politicians and capital allegiance – ‘You scratch my back and I scratch yours’ praxis.

It equally to the first is centred on the claim that he as Cyril Ramaphosa knew nothing about the donation, meaning where it came from, who gave it, for what purpose and what conditions explicit or implied were attached to it. In a mop-up operation, the cardinal focus was to shift Ramaphosa as far away from the money as possible, yet it could never be that far since the money came to his son’s account, justifying the claims that Ramaphosa knew from the start.

In an earlier penned piece, I postulated the devil is in the detail and this issue of Ramaphosa knowing, is what should be the focus. This is the elephant in the room, the question Ramaphosa must clear up and convince us all of is that he knew nothing. You will recall this was the first thing his campaign managers spit when the news of his amended statement broke.

Clearly, the questionable Bosasa ‘donation’ and Ramaphosa’s direct responsibility to answer will not be left off the hook, at least not by some who do not share the mind on him as SA State Capture-buster and saviour.

On November 10, the DA leader Mmusi Maimane called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to “come clean” and “turn himself in” to the State Capture inquiry. Maimane in shrewdness of politics re-echoed Ramaphosa’s own words when the caretaker president said: “For the country to move forward, we need to establish the full extent of State Capture, identify those responsible for facilitating it, and take decisive steps to prevent it happening again.” On the same occasion, Ramaphosa said: “It was incumbent upon any person who may have knowledge of any of the matters within the commission’s mandate to provide that information to the commission, to do so honestly and to do so fully”.

The DA sensing an opportunity to go after the ANC and its president is now lashing Ramphosa with his own proverbial cat-with-nine-tails whip (state capture involvement), when they claim, “Ramaphosa must show leadership and heed his own advice in this regard.” We know it was the DA who requested the State Capture Commission to call Ramaphosa and eleven other ANC officials to give their own full accounts of the capture of the ANC and of government. Maimane said, “While we await the commission’s response, the president should request to appear,”.

In its campaign to directly link Ramaphosa to State Capture accused individuals, the Democratic Alliance yesterday released a statement carried as an exclusive that a law firm whose director has links to the Gupta’s and State Capture was administering Cyril Ramaphosa’s slush fund which was administered by, Jeffrey Afriat who also had served as one of three directors of Trillian Capital. As is now custom and led by Gordhan’s logic of linking the dots, where politicians are linked to Gupta associated business individuals, we now see Ramaphosa is linked to Jeffrey Afriat of Trillian.

Ramaphosa the scripted ‘clean’ State-Capture-buster is now busted as the DA, the originator of capture theme hones in on him and citing him as not having been immune to State Capture. As the DA links the dots, they continue to tag Ramaphosa with a proximity with Bosasa who has links to State Capture claims.

If Ramaphosa’s current public presence is derived from the claim of the prevalence of state capture, he is now considered a questionable figure hardly immune to the web of capture. It was easy for Ramaphosa to point fingers at others, what will he now say when he is linked?

What then is left of his campaign to lead the ANC and SA post-May 2019? We know he is struggling stifled in a crisis of legitimacy and distrusted by many even in his own organisation. We have already seen how a number of scripted ‘angels’ tumble in admissions to meetings. Nhlanhla Nene fell because he met with the Guptas and lied about it, Gigaba also stumbled and is no more a minister. Gordhan also met the Guptas and as the EFF claims he too lied about since his revised statement admits to meeting them regardless of the occasion, Manyi produced an exhibit detailing a picture of Thuli Madonsela standing next to a Gupta brother on a stage. Former ANC SG, Gwede Mantashe yesterday before the State Capture Commission admitted to having met the Guptas although not alone, I guess the devil is in the details.

We are involuntarily reminded of the following words, “Beware those who shout state capture, they will regret their call for it”, words made famous by SA’s last ballot-elected president has more than a prophetic ring to it.

We know this because state capture, the DA-led campaign is claiming the political lives of many so-called angels, it now has gone to the Queen-Bee, Ramaphosa, meaning it has cornered him and is in an attempt of snuffing his political relevance too.

Noel Jones the 21st USA century preacher coined a phrase, “Those who sin with you can sin against you’, I thought of this when I see the unravelling of the DA and Ramaphosa who both thrive of State Capture for their respective relevance.

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine
Political Commentator & Writer Chairperson of TMoSA Foundation