The African National Congress (ANC) caucus has applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa for what it calls “his sincerity” in correcting himself in the Bosasa donation matter.
ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu says Parliament’s rules allow for members to correct wrong information that was given unintentionally.
Last week, Ramaphosa backtracked on an oral question in the National Assembly about a R500,000 payment made from controversial security company Bosasa to his son.
Initially, he said the money was paid for consultancy fees but then corrected his answer to say it was in fact paid into a trust used during his campaign for the ANC leadership.
Mthembu says it takes a good leader to apologise.
“It’s only good leadership and the people that can be trusted with our government that are able to say ‘I was wrong, here is the correct version’.”
Mthembu says the ANC’s rules must change to allow for such corrections.
“Our rules must be amended to provide for instances wherein an unwitting incorrect answer is provided to allow for correction to be made within specific time frames. At the moment, we don’t have such a rule.
“In fact, this is not the first time the president has written to Parliament to provide a correction on a response given in the National Assembly. On 28 August 2018, the president wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly correcting the figure he had previously provided on the cost of legal fees of former President Jacob Zuma to the state.”
Mthembu says so far no opposition party has come forward with a substantive motion for the matter to be debated further.
Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, has also been linked to dodgy payments and security services for MPs.
In the statement, Ramaphosa said since his response to the House, he sought more clarification on the matter.
He said his son offered his services to African Global Operations in a number of African countries, but not South Africa, to avoid a conflict of interest.
Ramaphosa said he’d been subsequently informed that the R500,000 payment was not for consultancy services, but rather a donation made by Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson into a trust account, used to raise funds for his ANC presidential campaign.
The president said the donation was made without his knowledge, and he didn’t know about its existence on the day he answered questions in the National Assembly.