ANC national chair and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe has spoken out about security upgrades at his home and other properties undertaken by controversial corruption accused company Bosasa.
During an exclusive interview with Mantashe at the offices of the mineral resources ministry in Pretoria, he denied aspects of a News24 report that detailed the equipment installed at his properties and disputed the value thereof.
Mantashe has also distanced himself from Bosasa, which changed its name to African Global Operations last year, saying that his ANC security detail had taken care of his security arrangements while he served as secretary general of the party.
He claimed he was not personally aware of who the service provider was.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe did not respond to detailed questions seeking to confirm Mantashe's claims.
News24 revealed earlier this month that Bosasa had installed CCTV systems and electric fencing at Mantashe's Boksburg home and two properties in Cala and Elliot in the Eastern Cape.
Mantashe confirmed that CCTV systems had been installed, but denied that he had also received electric fencing at any of his properties.
"And in fact, there never was [electric fencing]," Mantashe said.
He maintained that his Boksburg home had palisade fencing installed many years ago and his properties in rural Eastern Cape had barbed wire fences.
Details of the installations at high-profile government leader's homes are contained in an affidavit by a former Bosasa employee, who for his safety asked not to be identified.
The employee detailed how, with the knowledge and often under the instruction of Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson, CCTV, electric fencing and alarm systems were installed at the homes of Mantashe, communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane and deputy correctional services minister Thabang Makwetla.
The company also installed similar systems at the homes of former South African Airways chair Dudu Myeni, former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa procurement manager Mbulelo Gingcana, former correctional services commissioner Linda Mti and ANC MP, Vincent Smith.
He stated that Bosasa carried the costs of the installations.
Makwetla confirmed that Bosasa had installed the systems at his home and in a detailed statement claimed he had repeatedly requested Watson to provide him with an invoice.
According to the affidavit CCTV and recording systems, alarms and perimeter lighting to the value of R300 000 were installed at Mantashe's three properties and the employee maintained that he was instructed to install the systems by Bosasa director, Papa Leshabane.
Mantashe confirmed he had met Leshabane but maintains that only CCTV was installed amid concerns and threats to his safety - and the system had in fact led to arrests after two break-ins at his Boksburg property.
Leshabane, Mantashe explained, accompanied his son-in-law Calvo Mawela, Multichoice CEO, to a traditional ceremony as part of Mawela's marriage to Mantashe's daughter, Nombasa.
Both Leshabane and Mawela confirmed that they were friends and were provided the same version when asked whether the security upgrades to Mantashe's properties was discussed between them.
"We never discussed, I informed him that I was requested by Mr Mantashe's security detail to assist after a break in and theft at one of his properties," Leshabane told News24.
"Mr Leshabane informed me that he is assisting Mr Mantashe's security detail, but did not discuss the particular security upgrades to which you refer," Mawela said.
"Friends support each other. I have accompanied Calvo to funeral and weddings too, including those in his own family and he has done the same for me," Leshabane said.
"The ANC and Mr Mantashe had nothing to do with the installation. I got personally involved as I am a member of that family who is duty bound to help in times of distress. Also note that neither me personally nor my company benefitted from this installation," he added in response to questions over who paid for the security systems.
The employee who lifted the lid on Bosasa's largess is fighting his dismissal from Bosasa, saying he was disciplined and fired for storing "consumables", such as wiring and cable trunking left over from the politicians' and officials' installations, at his home on the property of Bosasa's Krugersdorp head office.
He said he was forced to keep them there to avoid questions about what they were used for.
News24 also obtained a range of text messages from the various politicians to the Bosasa employee, asking him questions over the alarm and CCTV systems that were installed.
One of the messages was from a person named simply 'Mzonke'. Mantashe confirmed that a Mzonke was part of his security detail at the ANC.
"Can u again big chief give me yo guy to show us the footage we can't see it at all pls pls [sic]," a text from Mzonke to the Bosasa employee on January 23, 2017 read.
Bosasa has won government contracts worth more than R10bn over the next five to 10 years from various departments, including the departments of justice, correctional services, home affairs, social development and the Airports Company SA.
In 2009, a Special Investigating Unit report found the company bribed former correctional services commissioner Mti and the department's chief financial officer, Patrick Gillingham, to secure lucrative tenders, including massive fencing and catering contracts for prisons worth more than R1 billion.
This past week the NPA laid the blame for the delay on any charges being brought the Hawks who the NPA said have failed to finalise a forensic report.