What Gwede Mantashe wants you to know about his Bosasa security systems

2019-02-14 12:46
– Gwede Mantashe stands ready to conduct an interview with journalists outside his farm house in Elliot, Eastern Cape.

– Gwede Mantashe stands ready to conduct an interview with journalists outside his farm house in Elliot, Eastern Cape.

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This weekend former ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe took journalists on a tour of his three properties where “around” 2015 and 2016, corruption accused company Bosasa installed CCTV systems and spotlights.

His aim was to point out there was no electric fencing at his homes in Boksburg as well as Cala and Elliot in the Eastern Cape, just the cameras - which he paid nothing for.

Neither, it turns out, did the ANC (which was in charge of his security at the time).

READ: I didn't lie about Bosasa - Mantashe

But the weekend did reveal a crucial change to Mantashe’s version, which has stayed roughly the same since News24 first approached him over the Bosasa issue in September last year. Now the Mantashe camp claims Papa Leshabane, a Bosasa executive, told them he would carry the costs out of his own pocket.

When pushed on Sunday on why he had failed to mention this despite numerous opportunities to do so over the past four months, Mantashe brushed it aside.

“I can tell you the story, the details you now have from the horse’s mouth,” he said, gesturing toward his former head of security, Mzonke Nyakaza.

Nyakaza also played a role in the September story, being the same ‘Mzonke’ who had communicated over the systems with Bosasa employees. News24 revealed the contents of a June 2016 SMS from ‘Mzonke’ to Richard le Roux, the Bosasa staff member who installed the systems.

gwede mantashe

Gwede Mantashe’s former head of security for ten years, Mzonke Nyakaza, guided the media through a tour of Mantashe’s properties this weekend. He is pictured here next to the recording system for the cameras installed at Mantashe’s farm house in Elliot, Eastern Cape.

At the time News24 asked Mantashe if he would introduce this ‘Mzonke’ so that clarity could be sought. It was only this weekend that Mzonke, being Mzonke Nyakaza, stepped out of the shadows to give the media a tour of the Mantashe properties.

There are on average eight cameras installed at each property, and between three to four spotlights. The serial numbers are still visible on the cameras, with recording equipment for the systems installed inside the homes.

Mantashe has again made it clear that the cameras were provided by Bosasa through its director and Mantashe family friend, Leshabane – which Nyakaza expanded on. 

“I am not corrupt. I am not, nor have I ever been, on Bosasa’s payroll. My name is mentioned in an addendum. Not once in nine days of testimony by Agrizzi was my name mentioned,” were some of Mantashe’s comments.

This is of course in reference to former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi, who has revealed decades of bribes and tender fraud undertaken by Bosasa directors at the state capture commission of inquiry. 

The main thrust of Mantashe’s story over the Bosasa systems has remained the same since News24 first revealed the existence of the cameras in September 2018.

Now, it has changed slightly.

Cameras installed at Gwede Mantashe’s rural home i 

Cameras installed by Bosasa at Gwede Mantashe’s rural home in Cala in the Eastern Cape.

In essence, Mantashe argued at the time, his ANC security team had taken care of the security arrangements and he had not been aware that it was done by Bosasa.

He disputed that electric fencing had been installed (which he repeatedly pointed out at each property) despite the allegation of fences never having been reported or testified to before the commission.

He also disputed the estimated value of the systems installed at his property. Richard le Roux, the Bosasa staff member who installed the systems on instruction of Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson and other directors, told the Zondo commission the project was worth roughly R300 000.

Following a break-in at the Boksburg property, Nyakaza made the call to install security cameras, and promptly set off to the East Rand Mall with about R10 000, and purchased a system.

The next day, as he tells the story, Leshabane arrived at his home (they are friends) and saw the system.

“No, he said, this system was not going to give you the view you need,” he told Nyakaza.

It was then that Leshabane offered to have proper systems installed, and carry the costs out of his own pocket.

“I had no problem with that. I knew he was a family friend,” Nyakaza told journalists on Sunday at Mantashe’s farm in Elliot.

This is a key new fact. Previously Mantashe only said that Leshabane was a family friend.

Nyakaza’s version sheds light on this, and when Mantashe was questioned on why he did not reveal in September, when News24 first approached him, that Leshabane had carried the costs, or claimed he would, he brushed the question aside.

“I can tell you the story. But the details have to come from the horse’s mouth,” Mantashe said, gesturing to Nyakaza. 

Mantashe is also adamant that the entire debacle was simply not corrupt, because there was no quid pro quo.

“In my 10 years as secretary general of the ANC, no deal was ever concluded in the office of the secretary general,” Mantashe said.

This is a simple case, Mantashe will have us believe, of a friend helping the family ensuring his security, as he often stays at the Cala and Elliot homes alone.

Mantashe does not dispute that Bosasa installed the systems. He merely disputes that it was done with the expectation that he, Mantashe, would be doing something in return for Leshabane or Bosasa.

gwede mantashe

Cameras installed by Bosasa at Gwede Mantashe’s farm in Elliot in the Eastern Cape.

At the time of the equipment being installed, Mantashe was the secretary general of the ANC, arguably a powerful position in the ruling party.

His proximity to a director of Bosasa, a company which is steadily being exposed as corrupt to the core, raises alarm bells.

Now, he holds the position of national chairperson of the ANC. Additionally he is the mineral resources minister.

Essentially, he was not a government official when Bosasa gifted him with these systems, so issues of declaration in the executive members’ ethics guidelines do not arise.

The tax man may however, have a different view.

Mantashe and Nyakaza will in due course take their version of events to the Zondo commission.

“I love this commission,” Mantashe said.

“Because it is forcing individuals to go there and clear their names. It is a step towards cleansing the ANC,” he said.

Strangely, Mantashe intimated to the media that the reporting on the Bosasa upgrades gifted to himself and other ministers, such as Nomvula Mokonyane, had the effect of “lumping him in the same pot” as the others. This he said, was unfair and inaccurate.

His situation differed, he explained, in that it was Leshabane, a friend to his children, who offered the cameras to his head of security. 

Leshabane is yet to confirm this new version, and if he does not reveal the truth to the media or during testimony over the issue before the Zondo commission, it is likely that we will never know for sure what motives were behind providing the systems to Mantashe, at a substantial cost to Bosasa.

Read more on:    bosasa  |  gwede mantashe
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