Tape reveals Zuma link in muzzling Hawks
Publish date: 11 February 2019
Issue Number: 810
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa
Yet another report on how former SA President Jacob Zuma became involved in the muzzling of a Hawks investigation into Bosasa has surfaced in the Sunday Times. It says a recording of a meeting shows the lengths to which the company would go to stop its employees and whistle-blowers speaking out. The meeting, in November 2017, included Bosasa board chair Joe Gumede, the company's youth development project manager Jackie Leyds and HR manager Johan Abrie. Also at the meeting were three state capture commission whistle-blowers, brothers Leon and Andries van Tonder, and Frans Vorster. The Sunday Times says it understands the recorded meeting was called in an effort to convince the Van Tonders and Vorster not to blow the whistle on the company's alleged corrupt practices. Gumede can be heard telling the meeting that he had been approached by the Hawks, saying these approaches occurred regularly. ‘I was approached by the Hawks for the same thing, me and Gavin. Gavin and myself, we went to see the old man … the President, on this matter … when this matter was starting to brew again … we went to see him and he promised that, he was going to Russia … he said before he goes he will call two people … and indeed he phoned them and we got feedback. The guys from the Hawks even showed us … every Monday they have a meeting to discuss all these things … that is confidential information … and in that meeting he showed us that the guys they wanted to charge were Angelo (Agrizzi) and Patrick (Gillingham) … None of you guys.’ Gumede is heard saying meetings with Hawks investigators were held every month. ‘The only people they can charge is those two (Agrizzi and Gillingham) … (We) even had a meeting at the Sheraton (hotel) as a follow-up. It was clear. For them to close this matter the only people they need to charge are those two.’
As reported in Legalbrief Today, Agrizzi testified last month that he and Watson met Zuma's friend, former SAA chair Dudu Myeni, at a Sheraton Hotel, where she showed them the NPA docket on the investigation of Bosasa. He said he could not recall the date of the meeting. The Sunday Times report notes that in the audio recording, Gumede says they don't want Agrizzi and Gillingham charged for fear they would implicate others in the company. Abrie interjects and says Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson will not appear on the Hawks' list of suspects ‘because he was never involved’. Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said information on how investigations were conducted was confidential. ‘The so-called muzzling is just wishful thinking. This is an attempt to rubbish the arrests and subsequent appearance of the six Bosasa accused,’ Mulaudzi said, a reference to last week’s arrest and court appearance of Agrizzi, Gillingham and others. Lawyer Daniel Witz confirmed that Agrizzi would testify before the Mokgoro Commission of Inquiry into the fitness of two deputy DPPs, Advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi. ‘As a result of the arrest he is confirming his rights in terms of the Constitution in order to ensure that he has a fair trial. Once this is established he will arrange a date to give testimony,’ he said.