I didn't lie about Bosasa – Gwede Mantashe

Even if company had conducted the installation, minister says, it would not be an issue

I didn't lie about Bosasa - Mantashe

27 November 2018

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is sticking to his guns over security upgrades at three of his homes by corruption-accused facilities management company, Bosasa.

This is after Bosasa executive Papa Leshabane contradicted Mantashe's version during an eNCA interview on Friday morning.

Mantashe, who is also ANC national chairperson, previously denied aspects of a News24 report in September that detailed how a Bosasa employee, in a sworn statement, admitted to installing CCTV cameras and electric fencing at Mantashe's properties in Boksburg, as well as in Elliot and Cala in the Eastern Cape, worth roughly R150 000.

Mantashe was among other senior ANC members revealed to have accepted similar security upgrades to their homes, including Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Deputy Correctional Services Minister Thabang Makwetla and ANC MP Vincent Smith.

Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA head of procurement Mbulelo Gingcana and former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti round off the list.

All those involved have denied impropriety.

In September, Mantashe denied knowledge that Bosasa had been responsible for the installations, saying his ANC security team had dealt with the "procurement". He also denied that electric fencing had been installed, and disputed the value of installed CCTV systems.

Even if Bosasa had conducted the installation, Mantashe said, it would not be an issue. He said on Monday that he stood by this version.

He continued with his denials to News24 and, later the same day, September 30, appeared on 702 Talk Radio's Xolani Gwala Show, where he repeated the denials.

On Friday, however, Leshabane said during a live interview with eNCA that Mantashe had called him for assistance, casting doubt on the minister's version.

"You know, Papa [Leshabane] is lying. If he had said he had spoken with my security team, I would have been fine with that," Mantashe said on Monday.

Leshabane has also since done an about-turn.

"With regards to security upgrades at Minister Mantashe's home, I would like to put it on record that I was called upon to assist by his security detail. I reiterate that I never interacted with Mr Mantashe directly," he said via text message.

He was directly asked about whether Bosasa conducted upgrades at all three of Mantashe's homes, and confirmed that it was correct.

Leshabane also stated categorically that Mantashe spoke to him directly.

Corruption or corrupted?

Bosasa, now named African Global Operations, made headlines since 2009 after a Special Investigation Unit report found the company had paid bribes to Mti and Department of Correctional Services chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham in exchange for fencing and facilities management at prisons around the country.

The report was handed to the National Prosecuting Authority and a docket was registered with the Hawks in early 2010 but, to date, no prosecution has been announced.

News24 reported previously that forensic reports commissioned by the Hawks into Bosasa had been finalised and that an announcement was expected soon, according to the Hawks.

News24 also previously reported that Leshabane was a long-time friend of Multichoice CEO Calvo Mawela, who is married to Mantashe's daughter, Nombasa.

At the time, both Leshabane and Mawela confirmed that they were friends and provided the same version when asked whether the security upgrades to Mantashe's properties were discussed between them.

During the eNCA interview, Leshabane also confirmed Mantashe's version that he was a family friend.

"I am part of the family," Leshabane said.

Bosasa has won government contracts worth more than R10bn over the next five to 10 years from various departments, including the departments of justice, correctional services, home affairs, social development and Airports Company SA.