In response to questions put to him by the Sunday Independent – which have been circulating on social media since Friday 1 September 2017 – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has made the following statement:
“It has come to my attention, through questions that were sent to me by the editor of a Sunday newspaper, that a number of emails from my private email account have been illegally obtained and provided to at least one media outlet.
“From the nature and tone of the questions, it is clear that the intention of obtaining the emails and then providing them to the media was to discredit my person.
“I will not comment in public on private matters.
“I do feel compelled however to respond to deeply disturbing suggestions that I paid money to several young women with whom I was supposedly in 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.
“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.
“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.
“Resembling in many ways the ‘stratkom’ techniques of the apartheid-era, we have seen in recent weeks a number of attempts at disinformation directed at me and people with whom I am associated. These activities need to be seen within a broader campaign that has targeted several political leaders, trade unionists, journalists and civil society activists.
“Nearly all the people that have been targeted in this way have taken a public stand against the capture of our state institutions by outside interests and the looting of public resources.
“It is evident that there is a well-resourced, coordinated covert operation underway to prevent those responsible for wrongdoing from being held to account and for the integrity of our law enforcement agencies and other state institutions to be restored.”