Guest house owner claims Bosasa paid for Mokonyane's 40th birthday bash
A Krugersdorp guest house owner on Tuesday told the state capture inquiry that his venue hosted a 40th birthday party for former environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane in 2003, and claimed it was paid for by Bosasa.
Former Bosasa official Angelo Agrizzi claimed last year that the Victorian Guest House had hosted Mokonyane's 50th birthday party. He said he was a guest and co-ordinated the party.
However, in her evidence in July, Mokonyane denied the claim made by Agrizzi.
“Once more this is a false assertion. I turned 50 in 2013. My 50th birthday was hosted at Silverstar Casino in Krugersdorp,” Mokonyane said.
Frederik Hendrik Coetzee, owner of the Victorian Guest House, testified on Tuesday that Mokonyane had a 40th birthday in 2003 at his venue, arranged by Agrizzi and himself. He said Bosasa had used his guest house as a venue on some occasions. He described how he received a call from Agrizzi asking for a quick meeting. Agrizzi asked for the guest house to host a function for Mokonyane, who was then Gauteng safety and security MEC.
Coetzee said the birthday party was initially for 80 guests, but this was increased to 120 guests. On the day of the event, the number had mushroomed to 174 guests.
The guest house billed Bosasa for the function, which lasted until 3.30am.
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi’s former PA, Gina Pieters, took the stand at the state capture inquiry on September 2 2020. She laid out how Bosasa executives made sure that flowers, hampers and other “surprises” would be sent to then minister of environmental affairs Nomvula Mokonyane and her PA, Sandy Thomas.
Explaining how he managed to cater for the extra guests, Coetzee said the catering industry usually catered for 10 or more extra people per event.
“Luckily for us, that evening the speeches were quite long. The kitchen managed to get enough food. We changed the menu slightly to accommodate everybody.”
The company billed Bosasa R41,000.
Bosasa, provided the bulk of the drinks at the event, which Coetzee estimated to have cost R30,000 to R40,000.
"[The liquor] was delivered to one of my garages. It was quite a substantial amount of alcohol.".
When inquiry chairperson deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo asked how Coetzee seemed to remember the event so well, he said there were certain events stuck in one's mind, and this was one of them.
“We had to scramble behind doors to get extra food done, to get extra seating. The prestige of the event — though the guest house has catered for high-profile people — it is sometimes small things that get stuck in your head.”
When asked whether Mokonyane was at the function, Coetzee replied: “I was personally introduced to her. I ran the function, operation-wise.”
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