Home Opinion and Features Is Andile scandal a repeat of the Gupta saga

Is Andile scandal a repeat of the Gupta saga

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Like many such deals, nobody knows the criteria for identifying such lucky “business partners” who end up being instant millionaires

Screengrab: African News Agency (ANA)

REVELATIONS that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s son, Andile, scored a R2million “advisory” deal with controversial facilities management company Bosasa are a cause for concern.

According to media reports, Ramaphosa jr’s company, Blue Crane Capital, was paid the money in tranches of between R150 000 and R230 000 a month after signing an “advisory mandate” in December 2017 with Bosasa, which admitted bribing government officials to get lucrative contracts.

Of concern here is not Bosasa’s involvement and the amount pocketed by Andile, but the underlying problem this deal points to.

It highlights the general phenomenon of businessmen using the families and relatives of powerful politicians to gain access to state resources, or families, relatives and proxies of those who wield political power, using their proximity to politicians to enrich themselves.

That the “advisory mandate” was signed in 2017, immediately before or after Andile’s father became ANC president and the most powerful man in the country, is telling and reflective of a strategy similar to the one used by the Gupta brothers in relation to former president Jacob Zuma’s family.

Like many such deals, nobody knows the criteria for identifying such lucky “business partners” who end up being instant millionaires.

While the Guptas had been working with Duduzane Zuma before Zuma took over as ANC president in 2007, they immediately appointed him and his sister, Duduzile, to the boards of their companies after the conference.

What followed is well documented: an unprecedented shift in billions worth of state contracts to the companies owned by or linked to the Guptas.

The Guptas were emboldened to the point of summoning some government ministers and officials to their compound, and literally dictating government deployments and the allocation of big tenders. In short, the Guptas had used Duduzane to capture Zuma, and later the government.

We hope what is happening around Andile is not a repeat of that – with Bosasa or any other private interests using Ramaphosa’s family to capture him and the state.

The president should distance himself from such deals and call out his family members who may be allowing themselves to be used for such purposes.

We don’t need a repeat of the Gupta mess.