Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi detailed the history of the relationship between Bosasa and the Department of Correctional Services. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Former Bosasa chief operations officer-cum-whistleblower, Angelo Agrizzi, on Tuesday detailed the history of the relationship between Bosasa and the Department of Correctional Services which led to an allegedly corrupt facilities management company being awarded lucrative tenders without due process.

Agrizzi said that Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson was involved in setting up Phezulu Fencing and had bribed the department's officials to award Phezulu a R486 million fencing tender in prisons in 2005 without the company having capacity nor experience to provide high-security fencing. 

Phezulu was a Bosasa front company bought by Watson from Gloria Joseph and Jean Rodenburg only after Phezulu was awarded the correctional services contract. Agrizzi said Watson decided it was necessary to buy a stake in Phezulu and bid for the fencing tender as Bosasa was starting to receive negative publicity in the media.

He said Bosasa had patented the type of fence it was going to supply to the department as part of a "business for life" plan. 

Agrizzi said the Duplo fence was patented as it was developed by Michael Rootenburg and thus was only for sale at a premium price. During this time, Watson also entered into an agreement with Beta Fencing for the supply of materials to Phezulu at a base price. 

"This is a massive contract, one of the biggest fencing contracts ever done. It was also the monopolising of the fencing contracts, because once you were in, you were in for life. You controlled the source, you controlled the client, you could rape our country because you could charge more and more and more," Agrizzi said.

"But Bosasa not only lacked capacity to implement the high-security fencing contract, it also lacked experience. I remember they asked me to put up a test panel. It was a flop. We couldn't even put up 10-metre of the test fence. The test fence was a gemors (mess) of note."

Agrizzi also said the tender was advertised on 14 October 2005 and awarded to Phezulu on 25 November, making it impossible for anybody to produce a substantial bid in that time and giving Phezulu a head start. 

He also alleged that Phezulu won another lucrative contract for another Bosasa subsidiary, Sondolo IT, for the maintenance of the fence without tender being put out to public when the contract was extended.  Agrizzi continues with his testimony. 

African News Agency (ANA)