I’m not a blesser, but I did have an af­fair

‘Doc­tored e-mails’ be­hind smear, says deputy pres­i­dent

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By MZILIKAZI wa AFRIKA mzilikazi@sun­day­times.co.za

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has made a dra­matic con­fes­sion about an ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fair, as he moves to clear his name amid signs of a dirty tricks cam­paign to de­rail his bid for the ANC pres­i­dency.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the Sun­day Times yesterday, Ramaphosa said the af­fair, with a Lim­popo doc­tor had ended eight years ago.

“I had a re­la­tion­ship with only one per­son and it ended. I dealt with it with my wife. We now have a pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ship.”

The doc­tor was not avail­able for com­ment late yesterday.

Ramaphosa said some of the other seven women named as his “girl­friends” in a doc­u­ment cir­cu­lated on so­cial me­dia this week were in fact stu­dents he and his wife, Tshepo Mot­sepe, were as­sist­ing fi­nan­cially.

“I am not a blesser. My wife and I sup­port 54 young peo­ple ev­ery month — 30 fe­males and 24 males. We are trans­form­ing peo­ple’s lives.”

Mot­sepe, who is a sis­ter to South African bil­lion­aire Pa­trice Mot­sepe, yesterday stood by her hus­band, say­ing she was hurt at what was clearly a smear cam­paign.

“It is very sad what is hap­pen­ing. It’s dis­ap­point­ing that peo­ple have to go to such lengths to dis­credit a per­son. I am very, very up­set about it. We have been to­gether for a very long time and are hap­pily mar­ried. I sup­port and re­spect him and I love him.”

She con­firmed that some of the women named were re­ceiv­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port from her and her hus­band. The old­est is a 44year-old male car­di­ol­o­gist.

Late last night, Ramaphosa failed to in­ter­dict the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent from pub­lish­ing a story about his al­leged ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fairs.

The deputy pres­i­dent told Sun­day Times he be­lieved state re­sources were be­ing used to or­ches­trate a po­lit­i­cal smear cam­paign to stop him from con­test­ing the ANC lead­er­ship in De­cem­ber.

“I have to be pre­vented at all costs from as­cend­ing to the po­si­tion of pres­i­dent of the ANC. Some have even said it will hap­pen over their dead bod­ies. I have not com­mit­ted any crimes, I have not stolen any money, I have not looted state re­sources.

“But I am be­ing tar­geted and smeared. Ba­si­cally, state in­sti­tu­tions have been utilised to hack into my pri­vate e-mails. State in­sti­tu­tions should never be utilised to fight po­lit­i­cal bat­tles.”

Ramaphosa was trend­ing on so­cial me­dia on Friday af­ter ques­tions sent to him by the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent were leaked.

In the ques­tions, pur­port­ing to be from Sun­day In­de­pen­dent edi­tor Steven Mo­tale and seen by the Sun­day Times, Ramaphosa is asked to con­firm his pri­vate e-mail ad­dresses, and to con­firm if he has had “ro­man­tic and sex­ual re­la­tion­ships with the women listed be­low, as sug­gested by the e-mails in our pos­ses­sion”. It also asks him to re­spond to “sug­ges­tions” in the e-mails that he had un­pro­tected sex and that one of the women fell preg­nant and mis­car­ried.

Ramaphosa ques­tioned whether his pri­vate af­fairs were in the pub­lic in­ter­est.

“For me that is the ques­tion. Has a crime been com­mit­ted? No crime has been com­mit­ted. It is pri­vate com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­ally there is no in­ter­est about it.”

He would ask the in­spec­tor-gen­eral of in­tel­li­gence to in­ves­ti­gate the hack­ing of his emails to try to get those in­volved to face the mu­sic. “I have no doubt they would have doc­tored some of the e-mails.”

Ramaphosa said he had been warned “a few months ago” about the cam­paign, by of­fi­cials who re­fused to be part of it.

“I was told they are build­ing a file on me, that [the cam­paign] would even go on to be vi­o­lent. They are go­ing to get des­per­ate.

Dis­graced for­mer higher ed­u­ca­tion deputy min­is­ter Mduduzi Manana has re­mained de­fi­ant in the face of calls for him to step down as an MP, say­ing he is look­ing for­ward to his new role in par­lia­ment.

In an in­ter­view with the Sun­day Times this week, Manana made it clear he would not re­sign from the Na­tional As­sem­bly de­spite threats of le­gal ac­tion against par­lia­ment from a lobby group op­pos­ing the abuse of women, should the leg­is­la­ture fail to take stern ac­tion against him.

Manana quit his po­si­tion un­der a cloud a fort­night ago af­ter ad­mit­ting to as­sault­ing a woman at a Johannesburg night­club. He is fac­ing crim­i­nal charges in this re­gard.

Manana said he was stay­ing put as an ANC back­bencher and looked for­ward to what­ever role party bosses were pre­par­ing to as­sign him.

“I’m still wait­ing for the party lead­er­ship [to give me di­rec­tion]. I started as a mem­ber of par­lia­ment. I sat as a mem­ber of par­lia­ment for three years [be­fore be­com­ing a deputy min­is­ter]. This is a de­ploy­ment, and wher­ever I’m sent by the party I will serve ac­cord­ingly,” said Manana.

“I will serve any­where where the party sends me to, any port­fo­lio com­mit­tee. If they send me to ru­ral de­vel­op­ment I will serve there, I will take in­struc­tion from the party.”

Manana said he was “con­sult­ing widely” and was deal­ing with the “un­der­ly­ing is­sues” that drove him to as­sault a woman.

“I am seek­ing pro­fes­sional help to deal with what­ever un­der­ly­ing issue that caused me to act in the man­ner that I did and I’m ob­vi­ously par­tic­i­pat­ing fully in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem so that in­deed the law is served and both my­self and the vic­tim at some point are able to live in har­mony and co­ex­ist go­ing for­ward,” he said. Manana re­fused to dis­cuss the in­ci­dent. The Women’s Le­gal Cen­tre has asked par­lia­ment’s joint ethics com­mit­tee to ini­ti­ate pro­ceed­ings against Manana, say­ing his con­duct was in breach of the code of ethical con­duct for MPs.

The NGO has threat­ened to haul the leg­is­la­ture to court if it fails to act against Manana.

Ad­vo­cate Bron­wyn Pithey, of the cen­tre, said it was “a most telling in­dict­ment of his fla­grant dis­re­gard for the con­sti­tu­tional val­ues of South Africa, let alone the crim­i­nal na­ture of the con­duct in ques­tion”.

Pithey said the com­plaint to the ethics com­mit­tee, sub­mitted in terms of clause 2 of the code of con­duct, out­lined that Manana has “acted in a man­ner that is man­i­festly in­con­sis­tent with his oath of of­fice; and vi­o­lated the stan­dards of ethical con­duct as set forth in the code of ethical con­duct dis­clo­sure”.

Pithey said the reg­is­trar of par­lia­ment’s ethics com­mit­tee, Ad­vo­cate Ntuthuzelo Va­nara, has ac­knowl­edged the com­plaint. He has seven days to present it to MPs serv­ing on the ethics com­mit­tee.

Va­nara had not re­sponded to re­quests for com­ment at the time of go­ing to print.

Manana is also fac­ing in­ter­nal dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings in the ANC, af­ter its na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee re­solved that ac­tion should be taken against him.

But ANC na­tional spokesman Zizi Kodwa has de­clined to in­di­cate when dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings against Manana will be in­sti­tuted.

“When the mat­ter is pro­nounced to be be­fore the dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee we don’t make fur­ther com­ments about it un­til it is fi­nalised. The de­ci­sion [to dis­ci­pline Manana] has not changed,” said Kodwa.

He de­clined to com­ment on the Women’s Le­gal Cen­tre’s calls for Manana to be re­moved from par­lia­ment.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu also de­clined to speak about Manana’s fu­ture as an MP.

“We will tell him, but not through you the me­dia,” said Mthembu.

He said he wasn’t aware of any sub­mis­sions call­ing for Manana to be fired.

Pithey said if Manana was not axed from par­lia­ment, the Women’s Le­gal Cen­tre would chal­lenge the mat­ter in the high court.

“If we jump the gun a lit­tle bit, which I don’t want to do, we have rec­om­mended dis­missal. If the sanc­tion is less than dis­missal we would have to con­sider our le­gal op­tions there as well in terms of bring­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion. We want him dis­missed. That’s what we’re call­ing for. We be­lieve that in terms of the rules, the Na­tional As­sem­bly can dis­miss him. It’s well within the rules,” said Pithey.

We want him dis­missed. That’s what we’re call­ing for . . in terms of the rules, the Na­tional As­sem­bly can dis­miss him

Bron­wyn Pithey Women’s Le­gal Cen­tre

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