How Bosasa won – and paid top ANC brass for – lucrative tenders

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi ahead of the start of proceedings at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture held in Parktown, Johannesburg, 21 January 2019. Photo: Refilwe Modise

More high-ranking government officials and members of parliament, included Tom Moyane and Vincent Smith, benefitted handsomely from facilities management company Bosasa in exchange for tender influence and shifting public perception, the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture heard yesterday.

Explaining how Bosasa used money to cement ties with government decision-makers, former chief operating officer (COO) Angelo Agrizzi spoke of how officials and MPs were won over to ensure Bosasa was awarded tenders.

These included:

  • The lucrative department of justice and constitutional development tender to implement access control and surveillance equipment at courts countrywide;
  • The department of transport contract won by Bosasa subsidiary Gwerano, for rendering fleet management service for senior managers;
  • A correctional services catering contract.

Making use of the politically connected consultant Sesinyi Seopela – once the bodyguard of the late ANC Youth League president Peter Mokaba – at a salary of R100 000 a month, Bosasa had key government officials and MPs on their payroll, with Agrizzi authorised by chief executive officer Gavin Watson “to pack money” for Seopela for bribes.

Seopela, whom Agrizzi described as “a man of integrity”, was handed R500 000 for monthly payments to department of correctional services’ then national commissioner Tom Moyane and other officials, which was later increased to R750 000 to ensure Bosasa retained key contracts.

Agrizzi said 2.5% of all payments received from the department of justice and constitutional development in respect of the 2013 tender handed to Seopela for distribution to officials, amounted to R15 million, with beneficiaries including commission secretary Khotso De Wee – who is currently on special leave – Norman Tabane and Mumsy Nyambuza.

De Wee served as COO at the time.

An amount of R300 000 a month was paid to officials at the department of transport in respect of a contract held by Gwerano – one of the Bosasa group of companies – for the administration of government fleet management for senior managers.

ANC senior member of parliament Vincent Smith, who served as chair of the correctional service portfolio committee, pocketed R45 000 a month for averting negative media coverage. This was later increased to R100 000 a month, including university fees for his daughter.

Smith’s colleagues Winnie Ngwenya received R20 000 and a Magagula got R30 000 a month.

“All payments took place at various places and times in Gauteng. A folder, newspaper and jackets would be used to shield the money,” said Agrizzi. “Smith would also intervene when Zach Modise was appointed as the national commissioner of correctional services, to put pressure on him – ensuring a favourable attitude towards Bosasa.

“He informed us during meetings that he would also assist during committee meetings in parliament to ensure favourable decisions towards Bosasa,” said Agrizzi.

Brian Sokutu / The Citizen