As Prisons Commissioner in 2004/5, Linda Mti is alleged to have irregularly awarded tenders to BOSASA to the value of approximately R2 billion. The SIU began investigating Mr Mti after it was found that a BOSASA company secretary had allegedly registered a company in Mti’s name, which apparently never traded.
The SIU subpoenaed a selection of banking documents and found that BOSASA had paid bribes to Mti in the form of cars and houses. This SIU investigation began in 2007 and ended in 2009.
The BOSASSA Group has ties to Port Elizabeth via the Group CEO, Gavin Watson who founded the group. The beleaguered Eastern Provice Rugby CEO, Cheeky Watson is Gavin’s brother.
Other directors of the BOSASA Group include: Papa Leshabane – Executive Director, Chairman – Joe Gumede, Ishmael Mncwaba, Itumaleng Moraba, Carol Oliveria, Thandi Makoko, Munirah Oliveria and Jackie Leyds. Angelo Agrizzi is the COO and Andries van Tonder the CFO.
Gavin Watson, has close links with the governing ANC through his family’s anti-apartheid struggle credentials and his brothers’ post-1994 business interests.
A number of people benefiting from BOSASA contracts or linked to Watson and his family had links to Mbeki’s office, including the ex-president’s political adviser, Titus Mafolo, and Mbeki’s head of office, Lorato Phalatse, who is married to former Strategic Fuel Fund chairperson Seth Phalatse.
Watson’s brother, Valence, is the chief executive of Vulisango Holdings, the empowerment partner of controversial mining firm Simmer & Jack. Valence Watson’s business partners include Nozuko Pikoli, the wife of axed prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli, and Siviwe Mapisa, the brother of Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
BOSASA was also linked to the failed R9 Billion prawn farm in Coega. The project, touted as a huge job creator in the Eastern Cape and the world’s first environmentally friendly prawn farm, sparked furious objections from local environmentalists, including South African National Parks (SANParks). Despite the objections the SeaArk prawn farm was driven vigorously by the Eastern Cape government amidst allegations that this was because of the African National Congress connections of the South African empowerment partner in the project, BOSASA Operations. BOSASA CEO Gavin Watson is a member of the Eastern Cape’s influential Watson family, heavy-hitters in the ruling party.
The SeaArk Africa project was closed down in 2009.
Despite this failure another prawn farm project was announced in March 2015 and the new venture seeks to use the same technology as SeaArk Africa, with the involvement of BOSASA once again in partnership with the Gauteng government amidst critics claims that BOSASA have a close relationship with the ANC, with BOSASA’s offices in Mogale City hosting the Gauteng ANC’s lekgotla in 2011.
Another brother, Ronnie Watson is involved with a wind farm outside Port Elizabeth which is already courting controversy. Ronald Watson, brother of EP rugby president Cheeky Watson, is behind Inyanda Energy Projects (with it’s business address at 13 Woodfern Road, Fernbrook Estate, Gauteng) which proposes to construct a wind energy facility between the towns of Patensie and Kirkwood, within the Sundays River Valley Municipality.
Pitted against Watson are residents and landowners who describe the site as beautiful and unspoilt and argue that the construction of a wind farm will ruin its eco-tourism possibilities.
The proposed Inyanda – Roodeplaat WEF will consist of approximately 35 turbines each generating 1.8 – 6.15 Mega Watts (MW)The proposed Inyanda – Roodeplaat WEF will consist of approximately 35 turbines each generating 1.8 – 6.15 Mega Watts (MW) of power depending on the model and size of turbine selected.
Asanda Sontele of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency raised a number of concerns:
- This proposed site is situated within a mountain catchment, which is the source of the Kwazunga River which feeds into Groendal Dam – the main water reservoir for Uitenhage domestic water supply. Disturbance of the area has the potential to negatively affect catchment as well as increase siltation of the dam.
- Impacts on views and sense of place (especially considering that Groendal is a declared wilderness area). From the top of the plateaus at Groendal (which form part of the network of hiking trails) there is a completely uninterrupted view all the way to the Baviaanskloof. The presence of 120 m wind turbines right on the boundary (the closest one is less than 100 m from the boundary) of Groendal could have a severe impact on views and sense of place.
- The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is currently conducting a Strategic Environmental Assessment for South Africa for Wind Energy which will create strategic nodes to site wind energy farms. Due to the high level of sensitivity of the proposed development site and its surrounding, ECPTA recommends that this process aligns itself with the outcomes of that SEA.
Read all the concerns here: http://www.cesnet.co.za/pubdocs/Inyanda%20JG%20151013/Inyanda%20Draft%20Scoping%20Report%20Full.pdf
Where there is smoke there is fire!