Inquiry hears investigator's visit to Mantashe homes angered minister
Johannesburg - The Zondo commission has heard how Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe and his wife were angry that an investigator for the commission did not obtain their permission before conducting a search on their properties.
The commission’s investigator Patrick Mlambo appeared at the inquiry on Tuesday and detailed his visits to the homes of former correctional services boss Linda Mti and Mantashe’s properties.
The purpose of the visits was to assess the work that had been done through Bosasa’s special projects which entailed installing security upgrades to the homes of politicians.
Mlambo had travelled with Le Roux to the properties as he had been the one who led the team that installed the security upgrades.
The visits took place in February 2019.
Mlambo said Mti, although reluctant, allowed him to take pictures of the security upgrades done to his house.
When Mlambo and Le Roux arrived at Mantashe’s home in Elliot they found a woman at the property.
Mlambo said he explained to the woman that he was part of the commission’s legal team and needed to inspect the house for security installations.
The woman allowed them in and led them to a number of rooms inside the house. Le Roux confirmed the screens that were installed as well as CCTV cameras.
While Mlambo was explaining, commission chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo interjected and raised issues on why Mlambo had continued with the search when none of the Mantashe's were not present at the time.
He said it was unacceptable and that it should not be done.
Mlambo also told the commission of another Mantashe property in Cala in the Eastern Cape which also had Bosasa-funded security installations.
When they arrived, no one was present, but le Roux pointed out the LED light and the electric fence that had been installed by him. Mlambo took pictures and then they left.
Mlambo then told the commission how he received an angry phone call from Mrs Mantashe who took issue with the fact that he had visited her properties without her permission. She did not give him a chance to respond and dropped the call.
“I got a call from a female person who identified herself as Mrs Mantashe on February 20. She was accusing me very strongly of having gone into her properties without her permission. I tried to inform her the purpose of my visit was solely on investigations purposes. She would not hear anything and talked I even asked her to listen to what I had to say and she hung up on me after her verbal attack,” said Mlambo.
Minister Mantashe also called Mlambo and expressed similar reservations. The Mantashes told Mlambo that they had since fired the lady that gave him permission to enter their house.
Mlambo told Zondo that in hindsight he should have made an effort to get permission from the Mantashes to visit the properties.
Mlambo and Le Roux then travelled to Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal to do an inspection at former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni’s property.
Mlambo said he had decided to call Myeni the night before he was to visit the property and inform her.
He said Myeni was not pleased with his call and told him that he called her late at night and she was a married woman who cannot be answering calls at night.
Myeni told Mlambo that he should email her and her lawyers about his intentions and why he wanted to visit the property.
Mlambo did so the next day, but Myeni in her response did not grant him permission but was more interested in who else the commission was investigating.
Mlambo said he left Richard Bay the same day and did not inspect Myeni’s property as he intended because Myeni failed to provide him with permission.
The inquiry continues.