The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) is concerned about the serious allegations that have surfaced against Mr. Vincent Smith, an ANC MP, as well as other senior politicians and high profile politically associated persons, who have allegedly received money and security system related gifts (among other alleged free benefits) from the facility management company Bosasa. According to the allegations these things have happened over a considerable period of time, and allegedly date back to as far as, and beyond, the period of tenure of the late Mr. Ngconde Balfour, when he was the Minister of Correctional Services, who is also alleged to have benefited from the largesses handed out by Bosasa.
In this regard it is relevant to note that Bosasa holds several highly lucrative security and facility management contracts with government, with specific reference to privatised prisons and other security related facilities under the management of the Departments of Correctional Services and Defence, and other government departments and State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s).
The allegations that Mr. Vincent Smith benefitted from a substantial loan, with no apparent pay-back arrangements (as was confirmed by himself), as well as apparent gifts of expensive alarm and security surveillance systems allegedly to senior managers and influential politicians, such as Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla (among others), with influence in government departments and entities that Bosasa holds lucrative contracts with, are indeed very serious.
MKMVA is concerned that these allegations cannot be finessed and ‘spinned away’ through cleverly worded and duplicitous media statements, such as the ones that have been issued in relation to the allegations that are levelled against Mr. Vincent Smith. MKMVA, none the less welcomes the decision by Mr. Smith. MKMVA, none the less, welcomes the decision by Mr. Smith, which was accepted by the ANC, to step aside from chairing three parliamentary committees.These allegations, including also the allegations of other senior politicians and managers having had security systems installed on their private properties, by the company African Global Opearations and paid for in cash by Bosasa, cast a dark cloud of suspicion and impropriety over some of our senior ANC politicians and office bearers. This situation the ANC, as the leader of society, can never afford – even less so in this period running up to the national and provincial elections that are imminent.
The leadership of the ANC, that was elected at our 54th National Conference have, in accordance with the Resolutions of that Conference, committed themselves to clean government that must optimise service delivery to our people. In pursuance of that democratic mandate various judicial commissions have been established to investigate all kinds of allegations of wrong doing and corruption.
In this context MKMVA believes that the serious allegations with regards to Bosasa and African Global Operations should also be investigated thoroughly, and that a judicial commission, with full investigating powers, should be established in order to do so. This is also in the best interests of those politicians and managers who are implicated in the Bosasa allegations in order for them to be able to clear their names, in accordance with their protestations that they have done nothing wrong..
MKMVA is of the opinion that the fight against corruption, including any undue influence – or attempted influencing – in the allocation of government tenders, must be seen to be universal and without fear or favour.
Any impression that the establishment of judicial commissions to investigate these matters could be selective in order to target certain politicians, and let others off the hook, in pursuance of certain political interests and agendas must be avoided at all costs.
Therefore the establishment of a properly constituted judicial commission to also investigate the serious allegations with regards to Bosasa should not, and can not, be avoided. We call on President Cyril Ramaphosa to do the right thing, and to establish such a judicial commission forthwith without any further delay.
Issued by Carl Niehaus, MKMVA NEC Member, and National Spokesperson.