One of the women identified as being among Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s alleged mistresses in a poster doing rounds on social media has described the past 2 days as “a nightmare”.
PhD student Nhlanhla Radebe said Monday she has never even met Ramaphosa.
Her face was splashed over social media as one of eight women with whom Ramaphosa allegedly had an extramarital affair.
The Sunday Independent reported on the alleged affairs on Sunday, based on private email correspondence, but it did not name the women.
Ramaphosa has strongly denied the claims, admitting only to one affair which he said ended eight years ago.
In the poster, titled “Ramaphosa multiple affairs revealed”, Radebe’s picture is shown alongside those of three other women. It labels her as girlfriend #4.
One of the handles that tweeted the poster was @WMCLeaks – a twitter account targeting politicians, journalists and others deemed to be proponents of so-called “white monopoly capital”.
“It is wrong that people can just make things up about people and get away with it,” Radebe said. “It has been a nightmare.
“I think these are just sick people who think it’s okay to use women as collateral damage to bring down their political opponents.”
She first became aware of the poster when a friend alerted her on Saturday morning that her Facebook and Twitter avatar was trending on social media. Although she had received support from her family and friends, she said she was worried about the effect it would have on her future.
“As a black woman it has not been easy for me to get to where I am. I do not want this kind of negative publicity to be associated with my brand. I have a fiance that I have had to break this news to,” she said.
She said no one from the deputy president’s office had contacted her about clearing her name from their side.
Radebe is concerned that the poster could jeopardise her studies. She is doing her PhD in Germany, which has been funded by the Catholic Church.
“I don’t think the church will be happy with this when they hear. In addition, when I got my funding for my masters and PhD my aim was to come back and work in public service.
“Now I am not sure how that will happen because people will assume that I got the job through being someone’s mistress and not through hard work,” she said.
Ramaphosa says state resources are being used in a smear campaign ahead of the ANC’s December elective conference to choose a new party president to replace President Jacob Zuma when his term comes to an end.
Radebe has appealed to social media users to stop sharing the poster, as it told “a fabricated story”.
“I think if my involvement with the deputy president could be fabricated, then it calls into question the whole basis of the story,” she said.
Radebe is a member of the ANC’s Sefako Makgatho branch, which released a statement over the weekend labelling the posters “malicious”. The branch has endorsed Ramaphosa for the ANC’s top job.