I am not corrupt, Mantashe declares
See, no electric fences, minister shows journalists
“I am not corrupt and will never, ever be involved in corrupt activities,” Gwede Mantashe said, standing at the humble fence of his home in Cala on Sunday.
“I am not on the payroll of Bosasa, or anybody else for that matter,” he said.
The mineral resources minister and ANC national chair was on a mission to clear his name after being implicated in the Zondo commission as one of the high-up politicians who benefited from Bosasa bribes.
Mantashe took the media on a tour of his home in Lower Cala village and his farm in the Khowa (formerly Elliot) area.
He has conceded that the properties have CCTV security cameras which were installed by Bosasa staff.
Bosasa employee Richard le Roux testified at the commission that a team of technicians who worked on special projects installed security upgrades on three of Mantashe’s properties, amounting to R300,000.
Mantashe dismissed the allegations and said he would appear before the commission to clear his name.
“[Former Bosasa COO Angelo] Agrizzi testified for nine days. It was not by accident.
“It was the reality that I never interacted with them.
“I’m not on the payroll of Bosasa. I was never on its payroll, never in my life, and that’s why Agrizzi could not mention my name for nine days,” he said at his farm on Sunday.
He said that if he and his security team were aware of wide-scale corruption at Bosasa, they would not have interacted with Bosasa staff to install CCTV systems at his homes.
Mantashe told journalists that had he known what he knew now, he would also not have interacted with Papa Leshabane on the matter.
Leshabane is a director of Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, and is a close friend of Mantashe’s daughter Nombasa and her husband, MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela.
Mantashe has consistently denied that electric fencing was installed at all his properties.
Journalists on his Eastern Cape tour saw no fences.
His home in Lower Cala village is surrounded by a typical, village barbed-wire fence held up by weather-beaten poles.
In fact, Mantashe needs to repair sections of the fence.
Villagers’ homes nearby had tall perimeter fences in a much better condition.
This was the same at his farm in Khowa. There was no alarm, and no telecom.
But at both properties, night-vision cameras and spotlights were in place and fully functional.
“I have done nothing wrong and I will not remove these. In fact, the installation of CCTV cameras on my properties was never a project of Bosasa or whoever,” Mantashe said.
“It was a project handled by the security teams after there had been some break-ins. I have never interacted with Bosasa.”
Mantashe said he had bought a camera for R10,000, to be installed. Asked how Bosasa was involved in cameras, Mantashe’s former head of security while he was ANC secretary-general, Mzonke Nyakazi, said: “We had a project to install cameras at the Boksburg home and I was given R10,000.
“I went to buy the cameras. The next day I wanted to get someone to install [them].
“[Leshabane] saw the cameras when I was unpacking them and trying to arrange someone to install them and he said no, these cameras are very weak,” Nyakazi said.
“He said he [would] organise a better one and foot the bill himself as a family friend.
“We all never suspected something sinister.”
He said Leshabane then put him in touch with Le Roux.
Le Roux testified before the Zondo commission that he was responsible for installing security upgrades at ministers’ and government officials’ homes, including Mantashe, Nomvula Mokonyane, deputy correctional services minister Thabang Makwetla, ANC MP Vincent Smith, former SAA chair Dudu Myeni and former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti.
Mantashe said all this happened when he was still the ANC secretary-general and not a government minister.
“There was nothing to offer to Bosasa . . . I was giving no tenders to anybody. I did not have the authority.”
Mantashe said he would not remove the cameras and denied that serial numbers on them had been removed.
He confirmed he had written to the commission and planned to testify over the security upgrade allegations.
Talking to the journalists, he said: “I want you to see for yourselves if there is any electrical fence. Report on what you see yourself and not what you have been told.”
The cameras were installed in 2016 and he said that since he had been minister there had not been any security upgrades at his homes.