Dodgy firm hosted ANC

2012-03-03 16:03

A company implicated in massive government tender corruption donated a conference centre for a lekgotla meeting to the ANC in Gauteng.

Multimillion-rand contracts awarded by the correctional services department to Bosasa Operations and affiliated companies are currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the Hawks. This comes after the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found there was a corrupt relationship between officials in the department and Bosasa.

City Press revealed last year that Bosasa, according to the SIU final report handed to Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in 2009, showered former prisons boss Linda Mti and the department’s ex-finance chief, Patrick Gillingham, with gifts, including houses and cars.

This is the first time a direct benefit from Bosasa has been linked to the governing ANC.

In the company’s news-letter, Bosele, Bosasa boasts about hosting the Gauteng ANC for its yearly lekgotla at the company’s “ecofriendly” headquarters in Krugersdorp, West Rand, early last year.

Bosasa brags about giving the venue to the ANC and printing party banners with Bosasa’s branding on it – at only three days’ notice.

Company spokesperson Papa Leshabane was vague when asked why Bosasa hosted the ANC, what the costs of the event were and which other organisations it had helped in similar ways.

“Bosasa, as a responsible corporate citizen, sponsors and hosts a myriad organisations?.?.?.?(including) political, religious and welfare organisations, as well as schools and tertiary institutions.

“As a private group of companies, we owe no obligation to the (media) to comment on our dealings with such organisations,” Leshabane said.

ANC Gauteng spokesperson Nkenke Kekana responded: “Any issues related to donations and support from companies and private individuals are in-house matters. We won’t be able to have a discussion about any matter relating to our lekgotla, but the lekgotla did happen.”

In the newsletter, Bosasa said it hosted the party’s lekgotla in January 2011 “as a contribution to nation- building”.

On the front page of the same newsletter, the company announced that it got 38% of “a major security tender” from the justice department to safeguard courts. This amounted to R391 million.

Lawson Naidoo, spokesperson of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, said the relationship between the ANC and Bosasa was a cause for concern.

He said: “This once again demonstrates the need for an independent anti-corruption agency. The allegations against Bosasa have been hanging around for a couple of years now, and the investigation seems to
have stalled.”

Naidoo also said there should be full disclosure of party political funding or support, “especially when it involves a company that has been implicated in corruption”.

Last week, Parliament’s portfolio committee on correctional services laid down the law to prisons boss Tom Moyane, saying there would be no more outsourcing of catering services after Bosasa’s latest contract ended at the end of next January.

This comes after Bosasa’s tender to provide food to prisoners lapsed last month, and prison staff themselves weren’t ready to take over catering, as announced by Mapisa-Nqakula last year.

Moyane extended Bosasa’s contract for another year.

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