Gwede Mantashe, the minister of mineral resources, has been criticised for pleading ignorance about the murky source of security upgrades at his private properties and been asked to pay back monies reportedly donated to him by Bosasa.
The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has called on Mantashe to “pay back the money” should it be proven that security upgrades “donated and installed” at Mantashe’s home were obtained through ill-gotten means.
Sanco national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said while the claim that the security installations amounted to R300,000 worth of equipment did not ring true, Mantashe had to take some responsibility, now that the nature of Bosasa’s alleged corrupt dealings was public knowledge.
“Whatever rules apply, now that it is known that things went wrong, I think Mantashe must own up as a public representative,” he said.
Mantashe this weekend opened up his three homes – two in the Eastern Cape and one in Boksburg – to give journalists first-hand access to the equipment, which has become the subject of testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
He maintained he was unaware of the corruption at Bosasa when Papa Leshabane, a director at Bosasa, paid for the installations at his homes, allegedly without his knowledge.
The project, he said, was overseen by his former head of security, Mzonke Nyakaza. Mahlangu lauded Mantashe for at least appearing to be transparent in showing journalists his homes.
But head of politics and governance at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) Gareth van Onselen was more critical.
“Mantashe’s line that he was unaware of his friend’s connections to Bosasa is typical of an increasingly common defence of the Ramaphosa administration,” Van Onselen said.
“If Mantashe was unaware, why was he unaware? If he was indeed aware, that necessitates a whole range of other damning possibilities,” said Van Onselen.