Mantashe’s media tour de‘fence’
“I am not corrupt and will never ever be involved in corrupt activities. I am not on the payroll of Bosasa or anybody else for that matter,” said Gwede Mantashe as he stood at the humble fence of his rural home in Cala on Sunday.
The mineral resources minister and ANC national chair was on a mission to clear his name after being named at the Zondo Commission as one of the politicians who has benefited from Bosasa bribes.
Gwede took reporters on a tour of his homes in Lower Cala village and his farm in the Khowa (formerly Elliot) area.
He has conceded that the three properties have CCTV security cameras which were installed by Bosasa staff.
Bosasa employee Richard le Roux testified at the Zondo Commission that a team of technicians who worked on special projects, installed security upgrades on three of Mantashe’s properties amounting to R300,000. Mantashe dismissed the allegations and said he would appear before the commission to clear his name.
“Agrizzi testified for nine days. It was not by accident that he did not mention my name in all those days. I’m not on the payroll of Bosasa,” Mantashe said on Sunday morning.
He said if he and his security team had been aware of wide-scale corruption at Bosasa, they would not have interacted with Bosasa staff to install the CCTV systems at his homes.
He said if he knew then what he knew now, he would not have interacted with Papa Leshabane on the matter.
Leshabane is a director of Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, and a close friend of Mantashe’s daughter Nombasa and her husband, MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela.
Mantashe has consistently denied electric fencing was installed at any of his properties.
Journalists on his Eastern Cape tour saw no fences. His home in Lower Cala village is surrounded by a typical barbed-wire fence held up with weather-beaten wooden poles. In fact, Mantashe needs to repair sections of the fence which are falling apart. Villagers’ homes nearby had tall perimeter fences in a much better condition.
It was the same at his farm in Khowa where he has many sheep and cattle. There was no alarm, and no telecommunications.
But at both properties, night-vision cameras and spotlights were in place.
“I have done nothing wrong and I will not remove these. In fact, the installation of CCTV cameras on my properties was never a project of Bosasa or whoever. It was a project handled by the security teams after there had been some break-ins. I have never interacted with Bosasa,” said Mantashe.
Asked how Bosasa was involved in the cameras, Mzonke Nyakazi, Mantashe’s former head of security while he was ANC secretary-general, said: “We had a project to install cameras at the Boksburg home and I was given R10,000.
“I went to buy the cameras. The next day, I wanted to get someone to install those cameras. He [Leshabane] saw the cameras when I was unpacking them and trying to arrange someone to install them, and he said these cameras were very weak. He said they won’t be able to give you the view you want, but ‘I can organise the proper ones for you’.
“He said he was going to organise a better one and would foot the bill himself as a family friend,” said Nyakazi.
Leshabane then put him in touch with Le Roux.
Le Roux testified that he was responsible for installing security upgrades at ministers and government officials’ homes, including Mantashe, Nomvula Mokonyane, correctional services deputy minister Thabang Makwetla, ANC MP Vincent Smith, former SAA chair Dudu Myeni and former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti.
Mantashe said all this happened when he was still the ANC secretary-general and not a government minister.
“There was nothing to offer Bosasa. I had no project to offer. I was giving no tenders, I did not have the authority.”
Mantashe also denied that serial numbers on the machines were removed. “Everything is still there. There is nothing to hide.”
Mantashe confirmed he had written to the commission and planned to testify...