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Bosasa’s ‘special projects’ extended to ministers, a magistrate, says witness

2019-01-31 16:10

High-profile individuals were on Thursday named as having had their properties maintained by facilities managers company Bosasa. They included government officials, a correctional services officer, a Prasa official and a senior magistrate.

This claim was made by African Global Operations (formerly known as Bosasa), employee Richard le Roux as he gave testimony before the state capture commission.

Le Roux who is still employed as a regional technical coordinator by the company testified that he was in charge of the “special projects” at Sondolo IT – a subsidiary of Bosasa. These projects included installing and maintaining security features at the properties of high-profile individuals at the insistence of Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson.

Le Roux revealed that the installations and subsequent maintenance were done in an underhanded manner because the individuals did not have to pay anything for the services: Bosasa paid in cash, erased the serial numbers and destroyed the invoices.

Le Roux revealed that ANC chairperson and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe’s three properties were revamped and maintained by Bosasa.

“There were three properties invoiced under the code name Gwede that belonged to Mr Mantashe that fell under Sondolo’s special projects,” said Le Roux.

He added that one property was in Boksburg and the other two were in the Eastern Cape.

“Mantashe’s property in Boksburg was the first that we worked on. We installed CCTV [cameras] and perimeter lighting because there were concerns that the perimeter was too dark for the cameras to make out anything,” testified Le Roux.

The total costs of installation to Mantashe’s home came to R300 000, revealed Le Roux.

Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane also benefited from Bosasa’s “special projects” – her home received upgrades on “the electric fence, CCTV footage, distribution board on her swimming pool pump as well as maintenance on the garden since trees were intruding on to the fencing”, Le Roux said.

The installations to her house apparently started in 2013 and went on for years. Watson or Mokonyane’s personal assistant “Sandy” would call Le Roux and inform him of what needed, maintainability the commission was informed.

Other government officials whose properties allegedly benefited from Bosasa’s special project division were ANC MP Vincent Smit and current deputy minister of correctional services Thabang Makwetla.

Former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni – who was also implicated by former Bosasa chief operational officer Angelo Agrizzi and denied ever meeting him expect on one occasion when she said they bumped into each other on a flight – was implicated again, as Le Roux testified that installations to the tune of R250 000 were done at her Richards Bay home.

Le Roux told the commission that in order for the company, Bosasa, not to be linked to these services, they were instructed by Watson not to use branded vehicles or to wear their Sondolo uniforms.

“For any other Sondolo-related work Watson had no problem with us wearing or utilising Sondolo-branded uniforms or vehicles, however, for these special projects he instructed us never to do so as he didn’t want anything linking them back to the company,” said Le Roux.

Apart from the government officials, Le Roux also implicated a chief magistrate, Desmond Nair.

He said the facilities management company had also made installations at the Pretoria Chief Magistrate’s home in Tshwane.

“The installations included an electric fence, IP CCTV system and an alarm system ...t he approximate cost was R200 000, which was paid for in cash from Bosasa,” said Le Roux.

Among the high-profile cases that Nair presided over was the Oscar Pistorius bail application.

Le Roux also said “a gentleman by the name of Mbulelo who, I was told, worked for Prasa also had security features installed at his property to the approximate value of R150 000”.

It was later established that the individual in question could be Mbulelo Gingcana, Prasa’s chief procurement officer.

Le Roux described some of the properties in great detail and was asked if he still knew the directions to these places.

His response was that he had already taken the commission’s investigative team to these sites and added that Smith and Makwetla had since removed the CCTV cameras installed by Bosasa and replaced them with different ones.

Le Roux is the first individual still employed at African Global Operations – previously Bosasa – to testify against the company.

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May 19 2019