An ad hoc committee must investigate President Cyril Ramaphosa's ties to scandal-ridden multi-services company Bosasa, DA leader Mmusi Maimane has said.
Addressing the media on Wednesday on the DA's expectations for Thursday's State of the Nation Address (SONA), Maimane announced that he wrote to Speaker Thandi Modise to ask for an ad hoc committee to process the pending Public Protector report on Bosasa.
Bosasa, these days known as African Global Operations (AGO), has been embroiled in a number of corruption scandals after its former COO Angelo Agrizzi opened a Pandora's box of allegations of bribery involving several senior ANC members in his testimony before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.
The Bosasa cloud has been over Ramaphosa's head since November last year, when he told the National Assembly, in an answer to a question from Maimane, that his son had received money from Bosasa for services rendered in terms of a consultancy contract. He told Parliament then that he had seen this contract.
Ramaphosa later backtracked in a letter to then-speaker Baleka Mbete, saying the R500 000 payment from Bosasa was actually a donation to his ANC presidential campaign, which he had been unaware of.
It later emerged that Andile Ramaphosa did indeed do consultancy work for Bosasa, and his father refused to disclose how much he was paid for this work when Maimane questioned it in the National Assembly in March this year, saying the issue was with the Public Protector.
The Public Protector is investigating whether Ramaphosa wilfully misled Parliament and her report, parts of which had been leaked to the media, is expected to be tabled in full soon.
'Must set the best example'
On Wednesday, Maimane, flanked by chief whip John Steenhuisen and finance spokesperson Geordin Hill-Lewis, said: "If President Ramaphosa is serious about eradicating corruption, he must set the best example."
He said Ramaphosa should come and account to an ad hoc committee, as there was no oversight committee over the presidency.
"This way, we're not using the State of the Nation Address as an opportunity to question him. He can come on another day and tell his side of the story, as I will and challenge how Mr Ramaphosa and his son have allegedly benefitted through a donation of R500 000, but also all the other transactions that have taken place that has benefitted his own son," Maimane said.
"We cannot use uBaba ka Duduzane's tactics now with uBaba ka Andile's same stuff," Maimane said, referring to former president Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane's ties to the Guptas.
Maimane said that Thursday's SONA could not simply be all talk.
"It requires action. And it requires that we take bold decisions if we are going to safeguard the future of South Africa," he said. Maimane called on Ramaphosa to deliver an address focusing on reform, particularly in dealing with unemployment.
He said Ramaphosa must make bold, uncompromising decisions despite how unpopular they may be within certain factions of his party.
The DA views the supply and cost of electricity, labour legislation reform, fundamental policy uncertainty, uncertainty around the protection of property rights, and low levels of investment - both domestic and foreign, as the key impediments to growth.
End Reserve Bank speculation
Hill-Lewis said the cheapest way to boost the economy was by addressing sentiment.
"But ironically and paradoxically it is also the most difficult and unlikely thing for President Ramaphosa to do, because of the incredible policy differences and divisions that he faces inside his own party," Hill-Lewis said.
"But what we would really like to see is an end to all speculation - an unambiguous, absolutely explicit end to all speculation - about the mandate of the Reserve Bank and the nationalisation of that bank."
Hill-Lewis also called for an end to the "self-defeating and destructive" debate on the amendment of the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation.
Steenhuisen called on Ramaphosa to be tough on crime and devolve policing powers to provinces.