Calls for ‘corrupt’ Ngconde Balfour to testify before Zondo Commission

2019-03-02 17:17
A tribute rally was held for the late Vernie Petersen at St George’s Cathedral on 2 March 2019. (Neil Cole)

A tribute rally was held for the late Vernie Petersen at St George’s Cathedral on 2 March 2019. (Neil Cole)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The widow of former prisons boss Vernie Petersen has called on her late husband’s political head, Ngconde Balfour, to give evidence before the Zondo Commission into state capture.

June Petersen was one of several speakers at the launch of the Justice4Vernie Foundation at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on Saturday.

The foundation will support initiatives to build an ethical public service and nominate Vernie Petersen to receive the Order of the Baobab posthumously.

Petersen’s name came up during the testimony of former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi, who testified before Zondo that the corruption-accused company allegedly paid R1m per month to prison officials, Popcru members and former prisons boss Khulekani Sithole to undermine Petersen’s efforts to clean up correctional services.

Petersen was moved to the sports department in 2010 after butting heads with Balfour about rooting out corruption in the department. He died in 2011.

June Petersen said on Saturday that her late husband worked alongside Balfour in the Anglican Church’s Board of Social Responsibility in the 1980s.

"I really hope he will go to the Zondo Commission because he has to," she said.

READ: Presidency to wait for Zondo report before acting against Cabinet members

Her sentiments were echoed by Neil Cole, longtime friend of the Petersens and convenor of the foundation, who said Vernie Petersen was "prevented by a corrupt minister of correctional services" to root out corruption in the department.

Petersen was overruled by Balfour in his attempts to prevent an extension of a prisons catering contract that was awarded to Bosasa in 2004. The contract was cancelled last month, 15 years later, after Agrizzi’s explosive evidence to the commission.

In a recorded message, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba also said it was "time for Balfour to account to the Zondo Commission".

Agrizzi testified that numerous correctional services officials were bribed by Bosasa, but that they couldn’t get to Petersen. He also denied that Balfour was bribed with a discounted 4X4 vehicle.

Former finance minister Trevor Manuel, who fought alongside Petersen in the anti-apartheid structures in Mitchell’s Plain, said it was common cause that the struggle "has veered way off course".

He said it was fundamentally important for leaders to ask themselves "what do we do about the stuff we encounter?"

This was in response to June Petersen’s comments that her husband turned to his colleagues in cabinet and even in the Presidency (under Thabo Mbeki) when he was under pressure, but was told to turn a blind eye.

Manuel said it was important that wrongdoers go to jail. "We cannot pretend that they represent us."

Former Cape Town mayor Theresa Solomon said "as a collective we failed to protect comrade Vernie". 

She drew parallels with the way in which Police Minister Bheki Cele had recently gotten rid of Robert McBride as head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) and called on those in attendance to protest against this move. "Mr Minister, hands off Robert McBride!"

Read more on:    ngconde balfour  |  state capture inquiry
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.