Mantashe gives media tour of his properties to clarify Bosasa security upgrades claims
Former ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe 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.
“Hindsight is an exact science. Maybe if we knew what we know now, we would not have interacted with Papa [Leshabane] on this matter,” Mantashe told journalists who were invited on a tour of his Boksburg home on Saturday morning.
Leshabane is a director of Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, and is a close friend to Mantashe’s daughter Nombasa and her husband, Multichoice CEO Calvo Mawela.
Cameras and spotlights pointed out by Mantashe’s former head of security at the ANC, Mzonke Nyakaza, are the same as what was installed by Bosasa staff, News24 can confirm.
Since News24 first reported on the installations in September, Mantashe has consistently denied that electric fencing was installed at this and his other properties, despite this allegation never being reported.
He highlighted that the arrangements were taken care of by his security detail, particularly Nyakaza.
The unprecedented tour revealed that there is in fact no electric fencing, but night-vision cameras and spotlights as well as a recording system are still at the home.
News24 sent the pictures of the CCTV cameras to a Bosasa source, who confirmed it was the same system the company had installed.
The media was allowed to look into Mantashe’s office, which is separate from the main house, to view the recording equipment which is housed in a white cabinet.
Nyakaza and Mantashe briefed the media following the short tour, clarifying that following two burglaries, Nyakaza had advised Mantashe that cameras needed to be installed.
He was given money by Mantashe’s wife to purchase a camera system.
“I went to buy the cameras, at East Rand Mall. The next day I wanted to get someone to install those cameras. The same day Papa [Leshabane] arrived at home. He saw the cameras when I was preparing to install them and he said no, these cameras are very weak,” Nyakaza explained.
He said the system he originally purchased was worth roughly R10 000.
“[Leshabane said] they won’t be able to give you the view you want, but I can organise the proper ones for you. And I said no, that will be fine.”
Shortly after News24 first revealed the existence of the installations, Mantashe during an interview stated that it had been handled by his ANC security team, and that he had not been aware that Bosasa installed the cameras.
According to Nyakaza, Leshabane then put him in touch with Richard Le Roux, the Bosasa employee who testified before the Zondo commission into state capture that he was responsible for installing security upgrades at various ministers and government officials' homes, including Mantashe, Nomvula Mokonyane, deputy minister of correctional services Thabang Makwetla, ANC MP Vincent Smith, former SAA chair Dudu Myeni and former correctional services commissioner, Linda Mti.
Nyakaza confirmed that Leshabane would cover the cost from his “own pocket”.
Le Roux testified that Leshabane had given him the instruction to install the systems.
Nyakaza’s version contrasts previous versions given by Leshabane, who backtracked after he told eNCA live on air Mantashe had called him personally to organise the camera system.
Mantashe accused Leshabane of lying at the time, and Leshabane quickly clarified that he had never personally spoken with Mantashe over the cameras.
“And there was nothing to offer. Let us assume for a moment that we had to take this thing from Bosasa, for what good? I had no project to offer. I was giving no tenders to anybody, I did not have the authority, I was in the ANC that time, battling to survive as an organisation,” Mantashe said.
But he would not tell his children to stop being friends with Leshabane in light of the explosive allegations of corruption involving Leshabane’s long-time employer, Bosasa, at the Zondo commission.
Leshabane is implicated directly in some of the testimony of wrongdoing along with many senior staff at the company, but Mantashe does not feel this should be an issue now.
“If he [Nyakaza] knew what he knows now, he would not have liaised with Papa,” Mantashe said, as Nyakaza nodded his agreement.
Mantashe said he refuses to think of Leshabane as “less of a human being” because of the allegations of widescale corruption at Bosasa.
“There is no problem with Bosasa technology [at my house]. At that point in time there was no big story about Bosasa. What is paying the price is the [Bosasa] brand, which has done many things wrong,” Mantashe said.
“Because of that, if my son or my daughter or anybody of the younger generation of my family talks to Papa, never come to my house. I am not going to do that,” he added.
The media tour continues with a visit on Sunday to two properties owned by Mantashe in the Eastern Cape towns of Cala and Elliot, where Bosasa staff installed similar systems.
Mantashe confirmed that he has written to the Zondo commission of inquiry and plans to testify over the upgrades.