The damaging testimony by former Bosasa COO (Chief Operating Officer) Angelo Agrizzi at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in South Africa has laid bare the extent to which the company would go to secure state contracts and just how greedy the alleged powerhouses in government were to accept vast bribes to keep the tenders coming and the investigators powerless.
The bribery scandal goes back as far as 2002 but the bribes must have been worth it – the company has secured at least R12 billion (just under $1 billion) in government contracts since 2004.
Agrizzi testified that Bosasa paid between R4 and R6 million a month in bribes – mostly cash but also cars and children’s university fees – to obtain and retain contracts to supply food to prisons around South Africa.
The fact that the Special Investigations Unit has been investigating Bosasa’s contracts since 2007 and that only now, thanks to Angelo Agrizzi’s testimony, any action is being taken. It also suggests that the delay came from the highest office in the land, as evidenced in the Number One List item.
Here are a number of times that Bosasa paid bribes to officials and politicians to secure lucrative government tenders (and for which no-one is in jail).
Bosasa spent R3.5 million on birthday parties for then president Jacob Zuma in 2015 and 2016.
Environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane apparently earned at least R50 000 a month and received ‘gifts’ from Bosasa between 2002 and 2016. Not content with the R8.4 million she raked in in cash, she asked for Christmas presents that included 120 cases of soft drinks and 40 of beer, 2 cases of frozen chicken, 200kg of beef braai packs, eight lambs, eight cases of premium brandy and four of superior whiskey as well as a car for her daughter.
Former national commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services Linda Mti was an important cog in the Bosasa wheel, pocketing R65 000 a month to help the company secure feeding contracts to prisons valued at R300million per annum (from 2004). With further work over the following two years, (CCTV, fencing, TVs, etc), Bosasa was pulling in a hefty R1 billion a year.
In a complex web of deceit, a R35 million house was built for Mti, was leased to the department and the rent was paid to Mti – ensuring a rent-free stay in a palatial home.
Mti resigned in 2006 following investigations into these contracts and is currently out on bail of R20 000 as he appears in Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for corruption linked to the 2009 SIU case that took 10 years to see the light of day.
ANC MP Vincent Smith, who also chaired the portfolio committee on correctional services is alleged to have received R45 000 a month. Smith was implicated along with ANC MPs Vincent Magagula (R30 000 per month) and Winnie Ngwenya (R20 000 per month). By 2016, Smith was pocketing R100 000 a month for his influence while Bosasa covered his daughter’s 2015 fees at Aberystwyth University in Wales which currently stand at R250 000 a year for international students.
Former SA Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane allegedly received bribes whilst he was correctional services commissioner between 2010 and 2013 which could have amounted to as much as R250 000 a month as part payment with a number of others all of whom received a total of R750 000 in cash every month.
Long-time family friend of Gavin Watson, ANC MP Cedric Frolick (House chairperson in the National Assembly) received what Agrizzi said could only be cash in large bags to gain Frolick’s influence in arranging meetings with politicians for Bosasa’s gain. That apparently amounted to R40 000 a month.
Simon Mofokeng, secretary-general of the Chemicals, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Worker’s Union (Ceppawu) allegedly received R15 000 grocery parcels as an exchange for inside information into a 1999 Sasol contract Bosasa wanted. The information received saw Bosasa winning the tender.
All of this information is yet to be tested in a court of law and is currently common knowledge following Angelo Agrizzi’s testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry.