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Cyril Ramaphosa 'was warned' of smear campaign

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa released a statement, after the questions sent to him by the paper were circulated on social media.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the multi-stakeholder dialogue meeting in Soshanguve. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says he was warned a few months ago of a smear campaign against him by officials who refused to be part of it.

He has told the Sunday Times that he will ask the Inspector-General of Intelligence to investigate the case.

He says the alleged smear campaign against him is being driven through the use of state resources.

Ramaphosa lost a court bid on Saturday to prevent the Sunday Independent from publishing an article on him.

The urgent application heard in the High Court in Johannesburg was struck off the roll, with the judge saying it was not urgent.

Ramaphosa released a statement, after the questions sent to him by the paper were circulated on social media.

The newspaper asks for clarity around the alleged relationships between him and eight women.

The deputy president has denied having affairs with these women, however, he has admitted to having an affair, but he says he told his wife eight years ago and then ended the relationship.

He told the Sunday Times that he did have an affair with his doctor many years ago.

In a statement, Ramaphosa says he feels “compelled” to respond to “deeply disturbing suggestions” that he had money to several young women for romantic relationships.

“There are 54 young students – both men and women – that my wife and I provide financial assistance to on a monthly basis and have done so for several years. It is unfortunate that evidence of these bank transfers have been used to make scandalous allegations against me and, worse, to make public the names of some of the people assisted.”

The deputy president says he’s disappointed following the publication of the women’s names and pictures on social media.

“We find it disturbing that the privacy of these young women has been violated through the publication of their names and pictures on social media. It shows a callous disregard for the rights of the individual.”

MEDIA FREEDOM

Sunday Independent Editor Steve Motale has described the High Court’s decision to dismiss Ramaphosa’s application as a victory for media freedom.

Motale who attended court proceedings was apparently accompanied by bodyguards after allegedly receiving death threats.

The judge ruled that Ramaphosa had sufficient time to release two statements after receiving emails from the paper and therefore the article could be published.

Ramaphosa described the alleged social media smear campaign as a “dirty war”.

“This latest episode extends far beyond an attempt at political smear. It represents an escalation of a dirty war against those who are working to restore the values, principles and integrity of the African National Congress and society.”

He adds he’s convinced that the time has come for the membership of the African National Congress to restore the organisation as a genuine movement of the people.

“If the intention of this campaign is to weaken the resolve of those fighting to revitalise the ANC and unite our country, it has failed.

“I am now even more convinced that our movement, the African National Congress, needs to be restored to its rightful owners, the people of South Africa.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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