Gwede Mantashe tries to shake off Bosasa links
Mineral resources minister and ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe insists that he does not have a corrupt relationship with the controversial Bosasa company.
He claims the security cameras Bosasa installed at his Boksburg home in 2016 were a favour from a "family friend", Papa Leshabane, who also happens to be the troubled company's executive director.
Mantashe, who served 10 years as ANC secretary-general - making him one of the most powerful politicians in the country - went out of his way this weekend to prove that he is not a Bosasa lackey.
For weeks now, the ANC leader, who was among the most vocal against state capture and corruption in the last years of Jacob Zuma's presidency, has been on the back foot trying to defend himself against claims that Bosasa spent R300,000 on security installations at his properties.
He invited journalists to his properties in Boksburg and Ecala and Elliot in Eastern Cape. Sowetan was part of the media entourage that visited the Boksburg house, which is situated in what the former trade union leader calls a "working class suburb".
It is not a particularly expensive house. Mantashe told reporters that he decided to install security cameras at the house after there were two attempted break-ins
So fearful was Mantashe that he hired a private security company to monitor his house.
He also acquired two dogs.
In Mantashe's version, and that of his former head of security at Luthuli House, Mzonke Nyakaza, his family bought security cameras only for Nyakaza to be told by Leshabane, who happened to be visiting the house, that the cameras wouldn't do the job.
"I went to buy the cameras at East Rand Mall. The same day Papa [Leshabane] arrived at home. He saw the cameras and he said no, these cameras are very weak," Nyakaza explained.
"[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 that will be fine," claimed Nyakaza.
Nyakaza said the original cost price of the cameras that he bought at the the mall was about R10,000.
He confirmed that Leshabane covered the costs "from his own pocket" for the new cameras that were eventually installed.
According to Mantashe, Leshabane is friends with his daughter Nombasa and her husband, MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela.
"They are all in the same age group," said Mantashe, adding that 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.
Mantashe said if he and Nyakaza 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 said.
"If he [Nyakaza] knew what he knows now, he would not have liaised with Papa," Mantashe said, as Nyakaza nodded in agreement.