Minister Balfour protected officials corrupted by Bosasa, Bloem tells Zondo commission
Former member of parliament Dennis Bloem has detailed how his former ANC colleagues turned against him when he spoke out about ongoing corruption between the correctional services department and Bosasa.
Bloem, now a member of the Congress of the People, was testifying at the Zondo state capture inquiry on Friday, where he implicated members of the ANC in protecting Bosasa and correctional services officials allegedly linked to corruption.
Bloem served as the chairman of parliament’s portfolio committee on correctional services between 2004 and 2009. He alleged that then prisons commissioner Linda Mti had the support and protection of Ngconde Balfour, the department’s minister at the time.
"To me it was quite clear that Mti had the support and the protection of Balfour. That is what I have seen and what I have observed. Balfour was very protective of Mti," Bloem told the commission.
He said that when the department appeared before the committee "and we asked difficult questions" of Mti and DCS official Patrick Gillingham, Balfour would interject and say he would answer the questions.
"When I meet him personally, he will tell me that … this comrade is an experienced comrade we must not harass this comrade, we must treat him well."
Bloem also alleged that ANC MP Winnie Ngwenya - who former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi said was on the company's payroll - once approached him to meet Bosasa.
"Winnie Ngwenya came to my office. She said she was sent by people. She said it's the owners of Bosasa, they want to meet with me. I said to her I am not interested. I am doing my work here in this committee. She said to me 'you are playing with your luck, you must see these people'," Bloem said.
Bloem was a vocal critic of the extent of contracts awarded to Bosasa by the correctional services department. He told the commission that he had received death threats as a consequence.
"It was on a Friday; I was with my wife. I received a call. This person was telling me 'we are following you and we are going to finish you'. I said to this caller, 'please come, I’m waiting for you' and this person dropped the phone," Bloem said.
The state capture inquiry will resume on Tuesday next week.