Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane once again bore the brunt of former Bosasa chief operational officer Angelo Agrizzi’s tell-all testimony before the state capture commission, as he returned on Thursday to continue with his Bosasa-related submissions.
Agrizzi made more revelations of bribes having been paid to Mokonyane and revealed that he was physically present when some of the payments were made.
He also connected the dots on “why and how Mokonyane remains a valued asset” to the facilities company and chief executive Gavin Watson’s family.
Agrizzi told the Zondo commission that, apart from the security upgrades done to the minister’s home, the “Louis Vuitton bag stuffed with R300 000”, the braai packs and expensive whisky that he had already testified to, he could also recall two other instances when Mokonyane received bribes from Bosasa.
He detailed how he witnessed Mokonyane receive R50 000 – packed by Bosasa Watson – when she was premier of Gauteng and while she was an MEC.
“I twice witnessed the preparation and giving of money to Mokonyane. On the first instance I assume she was still premier as we went to her official home in Bryanston and the other time it was while she was an MEC at a different residence,” said Agrizzi.
When asked why he thought Bosasa went the extra mile for Mokonyane by the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Agrizzi said it was firstly because of her “involvement with the SIU investigations”.
“She told us not to worry about those investigations as they had been taken care of,” said Agrizzi.
He added that he later came to the knowledge of a wind farm in the Eastern Cape “that the Watson’s had an interest in” and, as environmental affairs minister, Mokonyane was pulling the strings in getting the controversial deal across the line.
It was revealed before the commission that the Watson family was involved in the “Inland-Roodeplaat Wind Energy Facility”, a wind farm project they were building on top of a mountain in an area of crucial biodiversity and environmental sensitivity some 50km north west of Port Elizabeth.
Advocate Paul Pretorius told the commission that “the project drew strong objections from, among others, the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, the Eastern Cape’s department of economic development” and other organisations, “but the wind farm received the go-ahead from the national department of environmental affairs in April last year”.
An appeal has been sought, however, the stumbling block Pretorius mentioned was that it was to be heard by Mokonyane who, regardless of the fact that there was a clear conflict of interest, had refused to recuse herself.
Agrizzi also revealed that apart from Mokonyane’s daughter and MP Vincent Smith’s child, “there were many other high profile individuals whose children benefited” immensely from Bosasa deals.
He also added that he had done so much work in ANC rallies that he had “too many T-shirts to even know what to do with” in his wardrobe.
Agrizzi also revealed that, from his own calculations, the value of the total contracts that Bosasa has received from 2000 to 2016 stood at more than R2 billion and millions of bribes had been paid to get the contracts.