News / South Africa / State Capture

Makhosandile Zulu
4 minute read
31 Jan 2019
1:53 pm

Watson allegedly wanted to blame Agrizzi for work done by Bosasa special projects

Makhosandile Zulu

The witness says Watson pressured him to write an affidavit blaming the former COO for the work done by the special projects team.

Angelo Agrizzi, the former operations head of the security firm once known as Bosasa, has given damning testimony about the bribes the company paid to South African ministers, elected officials and high-ranking officials of the ruling ANC party. AFP/File/WIKUS DE WET

The testimony of Richard Le Roux, an employee of a Bosasa subsidiary, GTS (formerly known as Sondolo IT), at the commission of inquiry into state capture on Thursday delved into the work the company’s special projects had done on the properties of government ministers and ANC officials.

These included Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe, former SAA chair Dudu Myeni, former department of correctional services commissioner Linda Mti, ANC MP Vincent Smith, Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Thabang Makwetla as well as chief magistrate Desmond Nair.

Le Roux told the commission about the company’s “special projects” and the team put together to carry out the work, which included installing security systems, CCTV cameras, electric fences, and pool pumps, to name a few.

Le Roux said that, as head of the team that carried out the special projects, he had acted on instruction from the company’s former COO Angelo Agrizzi or Gavin Watson, Bosasa CEO, or either of Bosasa’s directors, Papa Leshabane, Joe Gumede, Trevor Mathenjwa and Syvion Dlamini.

Le Roux claimed that in November 2017 he was “pressured” by Watson and his daughter, Lindsay, to write an affidavit stating that Agrizzi had been the sole person who instructed the team to carry out the special projects.

He said he had initially refused to do so because he did not want “to get in between [the argument between Agrizzi and Watson]” and because it would have been “unfair”, “untruthful”, “unethical” and “unlawful” when the instructions were not only given by the company’s former COO.

However, after contacting Agrizzi about this matter, Le Roux wrote a statement, with the assistance of the former COO, in line with what the Watsons required, and emailed it to the Watsons.

A handwritten note was later added to that statement with the signatures of two witnesses, namely Andries van Tonder and Leon van Tonder – the latter is expected to take the stand after the lunch adjournment.

The handwritten note stated that Le Roux had written the statement sent to the Watsons under “duress”.

A copy of the statement with the handwritten amendment was kept by Agrizzi and Le Roux and was not sent to the Watsons.

Le Roux’s testimony gave detail on the work carried out by Bosasa’s special projects team at the various properties of high-ranking officials.

READ MORE: Bosasa gave Mokonyane, Myeni, Mantashe and more home makeovers

The work that was done at Smith’s property followed instruction from Watson and Agrizzi.

Le Roux said maintenance work at Smith’s property was done “on numerous occasions”. However, he said he could not recall the exact number of times.

At times Smith would contact him, Le Roux, directly if maintenance work needed to be done on his property. He said messages from Smith were submitted as evidence at the commission.

The work, Le Roux said, at Smith’s property cost about R200,000.

Le Roux also gave evidence on video footage reported on by News24 showing alleged Bosasa staff removing CCTV equipment at Smith’s property, saying two of the technicians seen in the footage had worked for Bosasa’s special projects team.

Makwetla’s project was code-named “Project Bramley”, Le Roux told the commission, and the team had acted on instruction directly from Watson.

An electric fence and CCTV system with offsite monitoring capabilities was installed at Makwetla’s property over a period of two to three weeks.

The work cost about R350,000, Le Roux told the commission, which was “all paid for in cash by Bosasa”.

A project code-named Prasa was for work to be done on the property of Mbulelo Gingcana on instruction from Dlamini.

Le Roux said the code name was given because, as he was told, Gingcana worked for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

Among the installations at Gingcana’s property was an IP-based CCTV system and a gate motor at an approximate cost of R150,000.

At Nair’s property, the team installed an electric fence, an IP CCTV system and an alarm system.

Le Roux told the commission that Watson had instructed him to remove all the serial numbers on equipment installed in the special projects to ensure no trace could be made back to Bosasa.

Another instruction Watson made to Le Roux was that the witness should not mention to anyone the work that the special projects team had carried out.

Le Roux said he and the commission’s investigators visited four premises in the Gauteng province, where the team had carried out work.

During these visits almost two weeks ago, at Smith’s property Le Roux noticed that although the electric fence the team had erected was still there, the property was now making use of new cameras.

At Makwetla’s property, Le Roux noticed that all the cameras installed by the team had been removed.

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