'Mr Coega' Kevin Wakeford to testify at Zondo commission

Former PE businessman Kevin Wakeford, named as a Bosasa beneficiary
Former PE businessman Kevin Wakeford, named as a Bosasa beneficiary
Image: Supplied

Former Port Elizabeth business leader Kevin Wakeford, who allegedly received R100,000 a month for helping Gavin Watson’s company, Bosasa, “resolve its Sars issues”, is appearing before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Wakeford, Armscor CEO,  was implicated by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi who testified at the commission in January.

Agrizzi identified the Port Elizabeth-born and bred Wakeford in his affidavit as “a long-standing friend of Watson”.

“At one stage, Bosasa was encountering constant audits by the South African Revenue Services [Sars],” Agrizzi said in the affidavit, without stipulating the years he was referring to.

He said Wakeford would often be consulted on issues Bosasa was facing.

“Kevin Wakeford would be paid a monthly fee for services provided,” he alleged.

“On various occasions, Kevin Wakeford would offer advice with regard to how Bosasa should respond to media attacks.”

Agrizzi said Wakeford approached Watson with a solution when Bosasa was undergoing a major Sars investigation.

“Kevin  Wakeford told us that George Papadakis could resolve all the issues at Sars,” he said.

“Bosasa [allegedly] entered into an agreement with Kevin Wakeford to pay him the amount of R100,000 a month as a fee for providing services in relation to the Sars investigation.”

Agrizzi said Wakeford had then allegedly made an arrangement with Watson to provide both wet and dry cement to a property in Meyersdal owned by Papadakis.

Agrizzi  also accused  Wakeford of involvement in underhanded dealings when it came to renegotiating the tender to manage the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp West.

He said this happened at a time when the Lindela contract was under review by the department of home affairs.

He explained that then home affairs minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had instructed the department to reduce costs at Lindela.

Wakeford denied Agrizzi’s allegations, saying they were “malicious, a gross fabrication and the fabric of lies”.

“I have sacrificed and dedicated much of my life to integrity and ethical leadership often to the detriment of me and my extended family. I have been ostracised and sidelined as a result of my involvement in whistle-blowing activities,” he said at the time.

For years, Wakeford’s name made media headlines for the leadership roles he played, first in the Eastern Cape and later nationally. In the 1990s – during his tenure as the CEO of the Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry – he was known as “Mr Coega” for his unrelenting enthusiasm for the project.

After his stint at the chamber, the University of Port Elizabeth graduate took on the CEO role at the South African Chamber of Business (Sacob).