South African president Cyril Ramaphosa says while dealing with many challenges in his country, he continues to remember the lessons on governance given to him by his “elder brother, president Hage Geingob”.
“As we deal with our many challenges in South Africa, I keep remembering some of the lessons he taught me about how we should have systems, how we should execute everything we do through processes and to have strong institutions,” he says.
Ramaphosa says Geingob’s death is a great loss.
He said this while visiting former first lady Monica Geingos and paying homage at the Geingobs’ private residence, Casa Rosalia on Saturday.
Among the other high-profile visitors was Rwanda’s first lady Jeannette Kagame.
“I have come here to Windhoek to extend my condolences to my sister, dear Monica Geingos,” Ramaphosa said.
“We as South Africans feel we have lost a brother and a leader,” he said.
Ramaphosa said he and Geingob worked close together over the years.
“I have personally lost a very good, dear friend, a close friend for that matter and an elder brother,” Ramaphosa recalls.
According to Ramaphosa, Geingob significantly contributed to the journey towards South Africa’s independence.
He said Namibia was first to gain independence in 1990 and South Africa followed suit four years later.
“We took a lift from that and continued with our own struggle, aided by leaders such as president Hage Geingob,” he said.
He said the two countries have been close for decades.
Ramaphosa lauded Geingob for being an organised, disciplined leader.
“I will always remember him for the way he exercised governance in this country and the discipline he taught me about how to lead,” he said.
“He was a very ethical president and relied very much on systems being properly structured and processes being well executed,” Ramaphosa said.
He received Geingob’s thesis on governance from Geingos.
“I am really going to immerse myself and remember him around really good things and good lessons,” he said.
“I am going to miss him dearly – very much so,” he said.
“My condolences go to the people of Namibia, and I would like to say to them you had a very good president who dedicated his life to freeing the people of Namibia and who loved the people of Namibia, which could be seen in everything he did,” Ramaphosa said.
He wished the former first lady well.
“My condolences also to my sister Monica Geingos and the family. I wish them strength and fortitude as they go through this very difficult time. We as South Africans remember him fondly,” Ramaphosa said.
In December 2022, a report on the alleged cover-up of the Phala Phala theft dragged Geingob into Ramaphosa’s alleged unlawful actions.
This included suspects being traced to Namibia and Ramaphosa asking Geingob to assist him with the arrest of the alleged mastermind of the robbery, Imanuwela David, in 2020.
Ramaphosa’s investigators, headed by his head of security, Wally Rhoode, allegedly told a senior Namibian Police official to keep the robbery secret “due to the sensitivity of the matter and the envisaged fallout it would create in South Africa”.
These and other explosive allegations are contained in a report by an independent panel that investigated whether there are grounds to impeach Ramaphosa for his actions after the robbery.
It was further alleged that Ramaphosa asked Geingob for help to track down David, who had illegally entered Namibia during the height of Covid-19.
Geingob and the Namibian authorities are extensively mentioned, with the panel, headed by retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, finding prima facie evidence that Ramaphosa and Geingob were talking at the time of the investigation, that Rhoode’s team investigated the matter in Namibia, that Namibian and South African authorities met in ‘no man’s land’ at the Ariamsvlei border, that there was a request to the Namibian Police to “handle the matter with discretion” and that Ramaphosa asked for Geingob’s assistance in the investigation.
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