REVEALED: The ANC MP who arranged justice minister's 'Watson house'

2019-03-03 06:38
Cedric Frolick, National Assembly House Chairperson: Committees. Photo: File

Cedric Frolick, National Assembly House Chairperson: Committees. Photo: File

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The unnamed MP who organised accommodation for Justice Minister Michael Masutha in Port Elizabeth where he was approached by former Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson in 2016 is National Assembly House Chairperson for Committees, Cedric Frolick.

Masutha, in response to a question from DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach, told the justice portfolio committee on Wednesday that he had met Watson once while staying over in Port Elizabeth to attend an ANC Siyanqoba election rally in July 2016.  

He described how he had trouble finding accommodation ahead of the event, and was eventually assisted by a "colleague MP" who secured the house for the weekend. 

Frolick confirmed he was the unnamed MP when contacted by News24 on Thursday.

Masutha said he had met Watson while at the PE home, where Watson "took the opportunity" to discuss matters relating to Bosasa's catering contract with the department.

The contract was one of four initial contracts awarded to Bosasa by correctional services in 2004 and 2005, worth around R2bn. 

Since then, these and other contracts have ballooned to R7bn to date.   

Watson allegedly asked Masutha to intervene in a dispute between Bosasa and the department, which was seeking to "disaggregate" the lucrative prisons catering contract. 

The department had launched a new round of procurement to try break the monopoly held by certain companies, Masutha explained.

"I said [to Watson] that I don't deal with procurement or any contractual issues at the department. If indeed he felt that they had complaints he wished to raise with my office he should do so in writing, I don't deal with matters informally," Masutha told the committee.

"Having realised the circumstances under which this hospitality had been extended to me, I then disclosed, at the very next opportunity in terms of executive members' disclosure, the hospitality that had been extended to me as result of a colleague here in Parliament making the offer in the manner I had just described."

News24 could not find the declaration Parliament's Register of Members' Interests for 2016 and 2017, and asked his office to provide proof of the declaration. 

This request was referred to Parliament. 

In response to questions over the property, and whether or not Masutha could provide proof of the declaration, a spokesperson for the minister, Max Mpuzana, declined to comment. 

"The ministry will not be making any further comment on this matter. Our view is that the minister has said everything that he needed to say during his statement before the portfolio committee," Mpuzana said.    

Frolick, who confirmed he is a long-time friend of Gavin's brother Cheeky Watson through their mutual involvement in sport, claimed that he was not aware that Gavin would go to the house to meet Masutha. 

According to a Bosasa source, Cheeky and Gavin had agreed to ask Frolick to arrange the home for Masutha. 

When contacted on Friday, Cheeky Watson confirmed his friendship with Frolick, but denied that he had any involvement in Masutha's sleeping arrangements. 

"As to your other questions, I have no earthly idea," he said. 

Frolick further denied that the home belonged to Gavin, saying the owner was one of many people who had offered space in their homes for accommodation for ANC delegates. News24 is in the process of verifying the ownership of the property. 

News24 understands that the property which was made available for Masutha is situated inside the Royalston Estate, owned by another Watson brother, Valence.

Frolick said he could not recall if the house was at Royalston or the name of the owner.  

"I did not even speak to Gavin Watson about accommodation for people," Frolick said, adding that he did not recall any meetings that were set up for Masutha or Watson. 

According to Masutha, Gavin Watson arrived on the Sunday morning with another man. 

When he raised the issue of payment for the hospitality, he was told that he did not need to do so, as it was part of the accommodation arrangements for delegates. 

Frolick meanwhile stated he had assisted to organise accommodation for other delegates, not just Masutha. 

"People were sleeping in store rooms," he said, illustrating the scale of the shortage of beds in PE that weekend. 

Frolick, a former school principal from PE, headed both parliamentary ad hoc committees that looked into the security upgrades at former president Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead. 

As chairperson of the committee, which had to pass judgment on the Nkandla affair on behalf of Parliament, his role was crucial to Luthuli House and to Zuma himself, City Press reported in 2014. 

The committee's report acquitting Zuma of any blame for the R246m upgrade at his home was accepted under protest by opposition parties in the National Assembly last week.

READ: Jacob Zuma's new number one

News24 has previously revealed links between Bosasa and Zuma, which includes the company sponsoring two birthday parties for Zuma worth an estimated R3m. 

Bosasa also allegedly donated R300 000 a month to the Jacob Zuma Foundation. 

Read more on:    bosasa  |  cedric frolick  |  michael masutha  |  gavin watson  |  state capture
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