Revealed: The dodgy politicians behind the Bosasa code names
Thursday’s witness furnished the inquiry with a list of names of politicians who received huge upgrades to their homes
Unscrupulous Bosasa bosses ran “special projects” for a string of politicians – including current cabinet ministers Gwede Mantashe and Nomvula Mokonyane – that included pricey security upgrades to their homes, installing a generator and doing garden cleanup “as a one-off”.
The list of names of politicians and high-profile individuals was presented to the state capture inquiry in Johannesburg on Thursday, and includes Mantashe, Mokonyane, former SAA boss Dudu Myeni, ANC parliamentarian Vincent Smith, ex-prisons boss Linda Mti, deputy correctional services minister Thabang Makwetla, former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) manager Mbulelo Gingcana and Pretoria magistrate Desmond Nair, who presided over Oscar Pistorius’s bail application.
They all received upgrades to their homes running into hundreds of thousands of rand from controversial prison facilities company Bosasa, according to testimony by Richard le Roux, the regional technical co-ordinator of Global Technology Systems (previously Sondolo IT).
He detailed how he carried out the upgrades on the instruction of Bosasa bosses Gavin Watson and Angelo Agrizzi.
Over and above his everyday job of looking after Bosasa’s office park, Le Roux was put in charge of “special projects” that included overseeing the security upgrades Bosasa sponsored for ministers and high-ranking ANC officials. It was a simple procedure. Le Roux said he would receive an instruction from Watson, or another Bosasa director, to conduct installations or maintenance at a certain property.
He would then do a site visit, obtain relevant quotes for equipment from suppliers, get former chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi to approve, and collect cash from the company’s accountant Jacques van Zyl to buy the equipment.
With a team of technicians, Le Roux would travel to the properties in unmarked vehicles and in plain clothes, complete the work and hand all potentially incriminating paperwork to Agrizzi.
Almost every “project” was given a code name to disguise who the work was for.
Environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane - Project Blouberg
Le Roux detailed the work done on “Project Blouberg”, a property belonging to minister Nomvula Mokonyane in Krugersdorp. He said upgrades were done to the property in 2013 and Bosasa carried out regular maintenance on the equipment up to 2017.
The upgrades included the installation of an electric fence, a CCTV system, a generator and a distribution board.
“We did the electric fence, the CCTV system, the generator, the distribution board, the pool pump, and we also had to do a garden cleanup,” said Le Roux.
“What we had done was we got the electric fence working first. Then we tackled the CCTV side of things. I had to get an independent electrician to sort out the generator. We replaced the distribution board in the swimming pool area ... The garden cleanup was once-off.”
ANC national chairperson and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe - Project Mantashe
Bosasa allegedly carried out security upgrades at three properties (in Boksburg, Elliot and Cala) belonging to Mantashe under the code name “Project Mantashe”. CCTV cameras and perimeter lighting were some of the upgrades installed on each property.
Le Roux estimated the project cost Bosasa about R300,000. Dudu Myeni’s Richard’s Bay home
Jacob Zuma Foundation chairperson and former SAA boss Dudu Myeni is also alleged to have received upgrades to her home in Richard’s Bay to the value of R250,000, according to Le Roux.
He claimed an electric fence, CCTV system and the alarm system were installed over a period of about three to four weeks. Former department of correctional services commissioner Linda Mti
Linda Mti is said to have received electric fencing and perimeter lighting at two of his properties, one in the Greenbushes and another in Colchester. ANC MP Vincent Smith - Project Jones
Le Roux described the security upgrades he installed at ANC MP Vincent Smith’s home in Roodepoort.
These included the installation of an electric fence and a CCTV system with off-site monitoring capabilities.
He said Bosasa returned “on numerous occasions” to do maintenance on the equipment at Smith’s request.
He estimated the value of the project at about R200,000.
Deputy correctional services minister Thabang Makwetla - Project Bramley
Le Roux estimated it costed Bosasa about R350,000 for the security upgrades at deputy correctional services minister Thabang Makwetla’s home.
These included an electric fence, a CCTV system with off-site monitoring capabilities and an alarm system with beams.
Former Prasa procurement manager Mbulelo Gingcana - Project Prasa
Former Prasa procurement officer Mbulelo Gingcana is also alleged to have received about R150,000 worth of security upgrades to his home. Le Roux said that included a CCTV system, a brand new gate-motor and an intercom system.
Bosasa is also said to have carried out maintenance on the equipment for about three months. Chief magistrate Desmond Nair
Pretoria chief magistrate Desmond Nair is also alleged to have accepted about R200,000 worth of security upgrades from Bosasa. Nair, who presided over Oscar Pistorius’s bail application, is said to have received a full electric fence, a CCTV camera system and an alarm system with beams.
Former Bosasa IT manager Leon van Tonder also testified before the commission on Thursday.
He admitted to erasing incriminating evidence from the company’s server, on Watson’s instruction, while the Special Investigating Unit was sniffing around in 2008.
He said the information related to contracts awarded to Bosasa from the department of correctional services between 2004 and 2007.
He added Agrizzi instructed him to prepare a statement saying he was conducting routine maintenance on the server. That was used as a guise to erase information incriminating the company.
The inquiry continues on Friday.