ANC’s head of Presidency Sibongile Besani has sought to clarify President Cyril Ramaphosa’s comments in a controversial audio leak released this week.
In the leak from an ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting last year, Ramaphosa is heard saying he would rather “fall on the sword” of his CR17 campaign controversy than let the public know about other internal campaigns that had allegedly used public funds.
“I said I would rather they say you got money from this business for CR17 than for the public to finally hear that their public money was used to advance certain campaigns,” Ramaphosa is heard saying.
Not trying to hide alleged corruption
In an interview with talk radio 702 on Thursday (23 December), Besani denied claims that Ramaphosa was attempting to hide alleged corruption.
“The focus at that stage was the CR17 funds which was being ventilated in the courts of law and in the process… there were a number of concerns and counter accusations that other campaigns during NASREC [ANC’s 2017 national conference] were using state resources,” Besani explained.
“So the President was explaining that he would prefer that there should be a focus on CR17 funds than bring other issues or counter accusations because if we did so, it would be as if he was diverting attention from the issue of CR17 funds.
“So the issue is not about the President having an aversion to accountability or incriminating himself or trying to shield corruption. He was saying, I would rather do everything at all costs so that there is a focus on the CR17 funds than to drag other campaigns in. That would be dealt with separately at a determined time.”
State capture commission evidence
Besani further explained that witnesses from the State Security Agency (SSA) have already given evidence at the state capture commission of inquiry pertaining to SSA resources being used for a particular faction at the ANC’s NASREC conference.
One of those witnesses was Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, the Inspector-General of Intelligence, who alleged that approvals for cash withdrawals at SSA often led to looting.
“Money has been stolen, and we’re talking about lots and lots of money, taken with suitcases. There is evidence in our possession that some of that money was used to finance a particular faction within the governing party. One of the transactions was equivalent to €200,000, ” Dintwe said when he testified in May this year.
On Wednesday, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson in government Tyrone Seale also sought to provide an assurance that the President is still committed to fighting corruption.
“One of the key priorities of the sixth administration led by President Cyril Ramaphosa is the fight against corruption in the public and private sectors and the building of a capable and ethical state, which includes reinforcing the capacity of state institutions to prevent, disrupt and prosecute corruption where it may rear its head,” he reportedly told IOL.