MINERAL Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe told the Zondo Commission on Friday night that former Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson bribed shop stewards in hostels for catering contracts.
Mantashe revealed this when he was testifying at the commission while being led by evidence leader Advocate Viwe Notshe.
He was being asked if he knew Watson, whose employee Papa Leshabane undertook to pay the cost for installation of security cameras at his three properties in Gauteng and Eastern Cape.
“I know Gavin. We crossed wires earlier in my life as a trade unionist when he wanted contracts in mines and we had to fight when he was bribing shop stewards and I said ‘No, No, we are not to agree to this’”.
Asked what Watson was bribing them for, Mantashe said he was bribing them for catering contracts at the hostels.
“He was catering in many hostels. We fought in many of the hostels with him,” Mantashe said.
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi previously testified that Bosasa targeted certain people regarded as influential such as ministers and did favours for them.
He had told the commission that they did some security installations in Mantashe’s properties in his Boksburg home and two properties in Cala in the Eastern Cape, including his farm.
But, Mantashe is disputing Agrizzi’s version saying there were two attempted break-ins in his Boksburg property.
He said he had tasked his security adviser Mzonke Nyakaza to instal security cameras but Leshabane, whom he knew as a friend and family friend offered to do the installation free of charge.
Mantashe said Nyakaza bought the cameras to instal in his property and Leshabane arrived and they had discussions
“Papa Leshabane is said to have offered to give better cameras. The cameras from Game were of inferior quality,” he said.
Mantashe also said when the Boksburg installation was a success in 2013, they were extended to the Eastern Cape properties in 2016.
“In Boksburg, we found someone working in the property stealing within the property. We thought we should put cameras in those properties,” he said.
“We saw the effectiveness of the cameras in Boksburg and thought we needed them in Eastern Cape because we are absentee landlords.”
He, however, said Nyakaza had handled the security aspect himself.
“Mzonke Nyakaza was dealing with security details without involving me.”
Mantashe insisted that Nyakaza informed him that Leshabane had offered the CCTV security system and bear the cost of equipment and installation.
“He accepted on the basis of the good relationship I had with Papa.”
Pressed on who paid for the cameras in the Eastern Cape, Mantashe said security details were handled by Nyakaza.
Asked about who made payments for the Eastern Cape installation, Mantashe stuck to his guns that Nyakaza made arrangements for security throughout.
He told the commission after reading affidavits of Agrizzi, the man who installed the cameras Richard le Roux and Leshabane, he picked up contradictions on prices.
“Even if Leshabane is offering cameras he would be the person to know the prices.”
Mantashe also said he never asked Nyakaza who paid for the Eastern Cape cameras because he dealt with nitty gritties of security arrangements.
“They would inform me on a need to know basis.”
When asked if he knew the position Leshabane held at Bosasa, Mantashe said he did not know and it was immaterial to him where he worked.
When Notshe put it to Mantashe that he knew Bosasa was awarded government contracts, the minister said he was not in the government at the time of the camera installations.
He also said he knew Bosasa was responsible for juvenile centres in the West Rand.
Mantashe also said he was not a minister who headed a department despite his position as secretary-general of the ANC at the time.
Notshe put it to Mantashe that he knew that Leshabane worked for a company headed by someone who attempted to bribe shop stewards.
“Were you not concerned this was a bribe”? he asked.
In his response Mantashe said he was not amenable to bribes.
“I am known for that then. I am known for that now.”