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Ramaphosa cannot recall meeting Bosasa boss at wedding in Uganda

Employees outside African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa) offices in Krugersdorp in February 2019. File photo.
Employees outside African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa) offices in Krugersdorp in February 2019. File photo.
Image: Belinda Pheto

President Cyril Ramaphosa says Bosasa boss Gavin Watson was at his son Andile’s wedding in Uganda in 2018 but has no recollection of any interaction with him there.

The president made this disclosure in an affidavit submitted to the commission of inquiry investigating state capture, led by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

"More than 1,000 people attended this event including between 150 and 200 guests who flew from South Africa for the occasion. I have no recollection of any interaction with them at that event," Ramaphosa said.

He was responding to a letter written by the commission to him and other members of cabinet to detail any interactions or meetings with the Guptas or anyone linked to Bosasa.

Ramaphosa said Watson and Trevor Mathenjwa attended one of the back-to-school parties he hosted as guests of Dahau Techonology, a Chinese company that provides video surveillance products.

This is the same company that Andile is said to have been in business with Watson.  The business relationship between Andile and Watson has reportedly ended.

Ramaphosa’s disclosure comes a week after the public protector found that he had a conflict of interest by not declaring a R500,000 donation Watson made toward his CR17 ANC presidential campaign.

The public protector said in her report that Ramaphosa ought to have declared the donation and failing to do so led to him violating the executive ethics code.

Ramaphosa has said he will take the report on review and insisted that he was not aware of Watson’s 2017 donation.

In his affidavit to Zondo, he said that to his knowledge no donation was made by Bosasa to his Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation.

"Mr Watson and some of his siblings were actively involved in the United Democratic Front in their home town of Port Elizabeth so it is entirely possible I may have met him or interacted with him in that context decades ago, though have no personal recollection of ever doing so," Ramaphosa said.

He said he may have interacted with Bosasa employees when in August 2016 he had visited a call centre where ANC volunteers were assisting the party in its local government election campaign at the Bosasa headquarters.

"I remember interacting there with ANC volunteers and party officials but may well have also interacted with Bosasa employees that were present at the premises at the time. I had no knowledge at the time of the source of funding for this centre as these matters were the purview of the elections team," Ramaphosa said.

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