- President's letter to Speaker admitting that he gave incorrect information to the National Assembly draws loaded criticism from the EFF and DA
- Malema implies echoes of Nene and Gigaba in Ramaphosa's answer to Maimane on payment from Bosasa CEO
- The president's popularity, having already declined from highs of past months, might further decline and threaten the ANC's election hopes next year
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s admission that he misled the National Assembly about his campaign to become leader of the ANC receiving funds from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson, has put the presidency in a state of damage control.
Opposition politicians jumped at the opportunity to make hay out of a rare miss-step by a president seen by many South Africans as a safe pair of hands.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema was quick to insist on a mea culpa from Ramaphosa. The Mail & Guardian quoted Malema as saying that “the president must take full responsibility and admit that he lied to Parliament and he knows what happens to people who lie to Parliament.”
The implied threat from Malema of the consequences of lying to Parliament stems from the falls from grace of former members of Ramaphosa’s cabinet Nhlanhla Nene and Malusi Gigaba.
IOL reported in October of this year how Nene requested of Ramaphosa to relieve him from his duties and office of finance minister.
Gigaba, former minister of home affairs, suffered a dramatic and protracted fall from political grace due to the South Gauteng High Court finding that Gigaba had lied under oath and allegations of having enabled state capture under the Zuma government. The apparent leaking of a sexually explicit video of Gigaba also contributed to his recent demise.
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, having been the initial Member of Parliament to mention in the National Assembly the matter of the half-a-million rand thought to have been paid to the son of the president, called for a full investigation into the payment, reports News24. President Ramaphosa has pleaded ignorance as to the nature of the payment, and South Africans on social media have been split as to whether this might be enough to save the president from being tainted with the brush of scandal and corruption that brought down his predecessor.
Ramaphosa’s national popularity a year ago was above 60%, but has fallen to 56% in October, according to Business Day.
Briefly.co.za believes that controversies such as the Bosasa payment could pose a significant threat to the president’s standing ahead of next year’s elections. As Ramaphosa is widely seen to be the ANC’s most important electoral asset at this stage, a decline in his popularity could have harmful effects on the governing party in its attempt to win a sixth consecutive national election and harm the party’s hopes of retaining control of the Gauteng government and provincial legislature.
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