Cyril Ramaphosa with his wife Dr Tsepho Motsepe

CYRIL Ramaphosa, (64) South Africa’s deputy president has cried foul over two newspaper articles on Sunday, alleging that he has been involved in a series of extra marital affairs with several women.

While Ramaphosa acknowledges that he had an affair with a doctor eight years ago, he refutes allegations that he also had affairs with a string of other women.

“I am being targeted and smeared,” Ramaphosa’s said after the Sunday Times and Sunday Independent newspapers published articles based on information reportedly hacked from his private emails.

The Sunday Independent claimed that it was in possession of documents that link Ramaphosa to affairs with eight women, some of whom he supports financially.

According to the report, Ramaphosa has three email addresses that he uses, under pseudonyms, to communicate with the women. The paper published information on three of the women with a promise to reveal the rest of the women in later editions.

Ramaphosa is adamant that the one affair he had with a medical doctor had ended a long time ago and that his wife Dr Tshepo Motsepe, had forgiven him for straying after he had confessed.

“I had a relationship with only one person and it ended. I dealt with it with my wife. We now have a professional relationship,” Ramaphosa told the press.

However, according to the Sunday Independent, hacked emails between Ramaphosa and the unnamed doctor show that the pair were still in communication.

“In virtually all the communication, the woman sounds like a broken-hearted and emotionally battered person who is battling to quit the relationship,” says the report.

Ramaphosa believes that the newspapers articles are part of a strategy by his political opponents to scupper his chances of succeeding president Jacob Zuma when the latter steps down in December as both head of state and ANC leader.

Dr Tshepo Motsepe has been forthright in her condemnation of the scurrilous report about her husband. She said: “It is very sad what is happening. It’s disappointing that people have to go to such lengths to discredit a person. I am very, very upset about it. We have been together for a very long time and are happily married. I support and respect him and I love him.”

Ramaphosa is one of the most prominent African businessmen in South Africa. He has an estimated net worth of over US$450 million with 31 properties. He previously held notable ownership in companies such as McDonald’s South Africa, chairperson of board for MTN and member of the board for Lonmin.

As one of the frontrunners to succeed president Zuma, Ramaphosa will undoubtedly have to overcome stiff opposition from within the ranks of the ANC before he can get his hands on the reins of power. His task will be made much more difficult by the fact that Zuma’s ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is also gunning for the same position.

“I have to be prevented at all costs from ascending to the position of president of the ANC,” Rapaphosa was quoted as saying. “Some have even said it will be over their dead bodies. I have not committed any crimes, I have not stolen any money, I have not looted state resources. But I am being targeted and smeared.”A South African political analyst who declined to be named said he doubted that articles about Ramaphosa’s extra marital affairs could on their own damage his chances of succeeding Zuma. “If sex scandals were a no-go area for South African politicians, as it is in some western countries, Zuma and a handful of cabinet ministers would have been kicked out of office a long time ago.”