Ramaphosa needs to speak up about Bosasa, DA says after having criminal charges laid
President Cyril Ramaphosa must speak up about alleged corruption on behalf of facility management company Bosasa, especially now that the DA has accepted the deputy president's challenge to report the issue to police.
This was according to DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, who had charges laid on Friday against ANC MP Vincent Smith, Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane, former SAA Chairperson Dudu Myeni, Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Thabang Makwetla.
The DA wants them to be charged in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (POCA).
"What the government can no longer do, is be quiet about what has happened. Since the scandal broke, there has not been one word from the Ramaphosa administration on this matter or the implications thereof," Steenhuisen said on Friday morning outside the Cape Town police station in the city centre.
"Now that we have taken Deputy President [David] Mabuza's challenge in Parliament earlier this week to lay the charges, it is time now for government to start taking action and start speaking out about this unfolding scandal," Steenhuisen said.
"The longer they ignore it, the longer it makes it look like there is even more for them to hide."
When Mabuza answered questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Steenhuisen said it was "very clear that Bosasa has been throwing around substantial largesse" to members of the governing party.
"Why has government not uttered a single word about the scandal?" he asked.
Mabuza didn't answer Steenhuisen's question but said he had heard that Bosasa was "working with individual leaders".
"I take it these were allegations," he added.
"Now, the necessary thing to do for those who are alleging is to report these cases. It is a good thing to do so that we don't simply talk, but that we help to uproot corruption."
The charges stem from reports that those Steenhuisen have targeted received security upgrades and other benefits from Bosasa, also known as African Global Operations, which secured contracts worth R10bn from various government departments.
These allegedly included:
- An alarm system, electric fencing and CCTV worth R250 000 for Myeni's house in Richards Bay;
- Recording systems, perimeter lighting and CCTV worth R300 000 at Mantashe's Boksburg, Cala and Elliott houses;
- An alarm system, CCTV system and electric fence valued at R350 000 for Makwetla’s house; and
- A CCTV system and electric fencing valued at R200 000 for Smith's house in Roodepoort. Smith also allegedly received more than R671 000 over the past three years and R100 000 in cash from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson on a monthly basis.
According to Steenhuisen, Bosasa has throughout the years benefitted from being awarded several large contracts by various government departments and entities, reportedly worth more than R10bn over the next five to 10 years.
These include the departments of Justice and Correctional Services and the Airports Company of South Africa.
The DA believes that an investigation into the allegations may reveal that criminal offences were committed in terms of sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
This, given the intersection of Bosasa securing large government contracts and its provision of various and alleged generous benefits to Smith, Mokonyane, Mantashe, Myeni and others, all of whom were at one stage or another in a position to potentially help secure some of the contracts for Bosasa
"We hope that there is going to be a proper investigation and that those who are found guilty, both within Bosasa as well as within the Cabinet [are] brought to justice," Steenhuisen said.
Last Sunday, News24 and City Press broke the story that senior Smith allegedly received R670 000 from Bosasa (now African Global Operations) over the past three years, as well as security upgrades to his house.
Smith said the payments were a personal loan from former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi and he was unaware that the money came from Bosasa. He said he paid for the security upgrades to his house himself.
This Sunday, News24 reported that Bosasa has since at least 2013, installed high-end CCTV cameras, alarm systems and electric fencing for Mantashe, Mokonyane, and Makwetla.
Myeni, former prisons boss Linda Mti, and one-time procurement manager for the Passenger Rail Agency of SA Mbulelo Gingcana allegedly also received from Bosasa's largesse.
Mantashe and Mokonyane would neither confirm nor deny that Bosasa had installed the security systems while Makwetla said Bosasa refused to charge him for it, despite several requests.