Bosasa named in Faku land saga

2011-05-28 19:31

Controversial facilities group Bosasa has been linked to the fallout over a multibillion-rand land development project in ­Nelson Mandela Bay.

The project is at the centre of a storm brewing over the head of ANC regional chairperson ­Nceba Faku.

Faku is in hot water for allegedly encouraging his supporters at a public meeting to burn The Herald. Faku has denied saying this.

This comes after The Herald had published extracts from a ­forensic report into claims of irregularities in the municipality.

The Kabuso forensic report, a copy of which is in the possession of City Press, reveals that Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson attempted to acquire a piece of pristine municipal land for the development of a prawn farm.

City Press revealed in March that the Special Investigating Unit had found evidence of an “improper and corrupt” relationship between Bosasa and senior prisons officials.

A legal opinion accompanying the Kabuso report recommends that Faku be criminally charged for approving a R2 million grant for the upgrading of The Willows resort. In November 2003 Faku – then mayor – granted R2 million to a company of property mogul Johann Dreyer to upgrade the dilapidated resort.

While awaiting approval by ­environmental authorities for the bigger development, Watson contacted Dreyer in July 2007 with the idea of a prawn farm.

Dreyer met Watson and ­offered him 10 hectares of land. According to Dreyer’s attorneys, Watson said the land was not suitable for a shrimp farm and asked for land Dreyer had allocated to a golf course. Dreyer declined.

According to Watson’s lawyer this version was not correct, as they were still in the process of testing the water at the site.

The Mail & Guardian reported in 2009 that Bosasa’s prawn farm in the Coega industial development zone had to close down due to a lack of funding.

Former municipal manager Graham Richards this week said: “I have no ‘relationship’ with Watson or with any company with which he may be involved.”

Dreyer declined to comment.

Faku referred all queries to the municipality.

Bosasa spokesperson Papa Leshabane said: “The (prawn farm) project has been shut down due to reasons ­already ­given and we have nothing more to do with it.”

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