CAPE TOWN - It is alleged that President Jacob Zuma’s birthday parties in 2015 and 2016 were sponsored by embattled facilities management group, Bosasa, reports a local media house.
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has found Bosasa to have bribed officials for tenders. The management group is now under criminal investigation by the hawks.
Bosasa paid out approximately R3.5 million for the parties through Zuma’s foundation, reveals News24.
The foundation is led by former SAA chair, Dudu Myeni. Notably, there were family-only invitations for the birthday bashes but was attended by Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson and other executives. Meanwhile, Myeni has denied any misconduct.
The Presidency refused to respond to questions and Bosasa claimed that it has no special relationship with the president. The group has won numerous multi-million rand tenders from the Department of Correctional Services and provides security to the Department of Justice and Airports Company South Africa.
The party was initially portrayed to be an intimate affair however it turned out to be lavish. Notably, Bosasa paid for the catering and decor at the parties and handed Zuma a specially-crafted gift set at his April 12, 2015 function.
The catering including top local chefs were catered for approximately 300 esteemed guests, according to documents seen by News24. Two sources revealed to News24 that the two parties cost Bosasa R3.5 million in expenses.
Myeni thanked Watson for hosting Zuma’s 74th birthday party in a letter addressed to Watson on April 16, 2016. "On behalf of the Patron of the Jacob G Zuma Foundation, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma, may we take this opportunity to thank you for the splendid birthday dinner planned at a short notice.
"The family was thrilled to have a memorable time with their father, intimately enjoying the wonderful dinner, prepared with care. The chef's creativity and professionalism was commended by everyone.
"Thank you for your generosity and time spent to ensure that the first family had the grandest birthday", Myeni concluded. Myeni then admitted that Bosasa had hosted the birthday parties.
She added that the Zuma Foundation, like all other foundations receive sponsorships from a number of donors and companies within various sectors. "Some of these donations come by way of monetary contributions and others by way of services provided by the respective companies".
"In the case of Bosasa, it provided its services of catering to the party". She further asserted that her relationship with donors and company’s that has supported the foundation was legitimate.
"We have no special relationship with Gavin Watson”. Meanwhile, Cosatu president, S’dumo Dlamini has apologised for attending the birthday bash of Zuma and his allies in the ANC in May this year.
Dlamini faced fire for attending the 75th birthday party, which was debarred by some in the alliance, in a pledge to display unhappiness with the president’s leadership. However, members who came to Dlamini’s defence were the National Union of Mineworkers. They claimed that it was his right to attend the party on the basis of his membership with the ANC.
Cosatu has since reportedly taken a decision to oust Zuma and have Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa succeed him in December this year.
The trade union federation took matters further by declaring that Zuma was officially prohibited of addressing any of Cosatu’s meetings.