COPE MP to ‘back up’ Agrizzi testimony at Zondo commission

After a week of damning allegations against Bosasa by current and former employees, on Friday the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture will hear the evidence of Congress of the People (COPE) MP Dennis Bloem.

Bloem’s testimony will reportedly back up the evidence of former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi. In his nine-day testimony, Agrizzi recounted in minute detail Bosasa’s scheme to secure lucrative government tenders through alleged bribery, corruption and money laundering.

Bloem, a former chairperson of Parliament’s correctional services oversight committee, told EWN: “I will approach the Zondo commission to go and testify, to back up what Mr Angelo Agrizzi has said because I was there. I was the chairperson for five years, and I know what Mr Agrizzi is talking about.”

Bosasa, led by its chief executive Gavin Watson, and its associated entities have milked more than R7.2-billion from correctional services since 2003 to date.

READ MORE: The Bosasa tally: R12-billion

In 2008, Bloem opposed then prisons commissioner Vernie Petersen’s notion that said having the prisons built, maintained and run over 25 years by the private sector would be the best option in terms of “value for money, risk transfer and affordability”.


Agrizzi testified that Peterson’s unwillingness to co-operate with Bosasa ultimately led to his downfall. Petersen was transferred to the department of sports and recreation in 2008.

In the wake of Agrizzi’s damning allegations, COPE has been a vocal proponent of Watson’s former “right-hand man”. “Congress of the People welcomes and applaud Agrizzi for his bravery; for coming forward and telling the country about corruption, bribery and money laundering in government and the correctional services,” Bloem told IOL in January.

READ MORE: Union, officials colluded with Bosasa to pressure prisons boss

Bloem joined the party in 2009, in a move which then ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte described as “politically immoral”.

In response to allegations levelled against Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Bloem told IOL: “The conspicuous consumption and the penchant for excessive and expensive lifestyle has been visible for all to see. In fact, it has become a norm and competition among leaders in the party of corruption, the ANC, to show off material assets and expensive alcohol tastes.”

Agrizzi told the commission Mokonyane had received gifts and favours from Bosasa from as early as 2002. These were allegedly made in exchange for her “protection” of the controversial firm.

His testimony was later backed up by former Bosasa employee Frans Vorster who told the commission: “We were instructed to drop everything when it came to Mokonyane … she probably opened doors for Watson because whatever she wanted, we jumped and dropped everything to attend to the minister and her family.”

READ MORE: ‘We jumped for Mokonyane’ — ex Bosasa employee

Mokonyane reportedly intends on disputing the claims before the commission.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

Related stories

Agrizzi too ill to be treated at Bara?

The alleged crook’s “health emergency” — if that is what it is — shows up the flaws, either in our health system or in our leadership as a whole

Vincent Smith the first to head to court after blitz of Hawks arrests

Former ANC MP Vincent Smith has appeared in the specialised commercial crimes court on charges of corruption and fraud

Another ANC member hands himself over to the police

Former ANC MP hands himself over to the police in connection with Bosasa kickbacks, with more arrests expected

Merchants of despair

When imprisonment becomes a business, the profit motive rears its head at the expense of the good of the prisoners. Three recent books deal with the murky workings of the prison-industrial complex in South Africa

Comrade Andrew Mlangeni was the embodiment of service

Kgalema Motlanthe paid tribute to ANC struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni, who died on Tuesday, at his 95th birthday celebrations last month

Covid-19 is a grave threat in prisons

Inspectorate finds serious overcrowding at ‘Sun City’ centre, putting inmates at risk of Covid-19
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Air pollution link in 15% of global Covid-19 deaths

Researchers have found that, because ambient fine particulate air pollution aggravates comorbidities, it could play a factor in coronavirus fatalities

Mboweni plans to freeze public sector wage increases for the...

The mid-term budget policy statement delivered by the finance minister proposes cutting all non-interest spending by R300-billion.

SAA to receive R10.5-billion government bailout after all

Several struggling state-owned entities received extra funds after the medium term budget policy speech

BMW X3 thrives in the M stable

The compact SUV is so at home with its new badge that’s it’s surprising it didn’t happen sooner
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday