From shopping lists to family burials: 5 allegations denied by Nomvula Mokonyane
Former environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane denied allegations made by former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi during her appearance at the state capture commission of inquiry on Monday.
Mokonyane accused Agrizzi of character assassination, sexism and said he over-estimated her influence within the ANC.
In 2019, TimesLIVE reported on scathing allegations made by Agrizzi against Mokonyane.
Here are five important takeaways from her testimony:
Christmas shopping list
Last year, Agrizzi told the commission that Mokonyane had a Christmas “shopping list”, which included cases of whiskey and braai packs, delivered to her home.
Mokonyane said she never received any groceries from Bosasa, saying her home does not have the capacity to store all the items mentioned by Agrizzi. She said Bosasa donated food parcels to the community and never for her personal benefit.
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi’s former PA, Gina Pieters, took the stand at the state capture inquiry on September 2 2020. She laid out how Bosasa executives made sure that flowers, hampers and other “surprises” would be sent to then minister of environmental affairs Nomvula Mokonyane and her PA, Sandy Thomas.
“I’ve never received anything as stated by Mr. Agrizzi. We all know that a house like this one cannot have a storage to keep all these items, even those that came on site. I’m sure they didn’t find any strong room or a fridge or whatever freezer that could keep this, nor do I have a place where I could keep these kinds of items,” she said.
Bosasa 'sponsored' family burials
Agrizzi alleged the company also paid for the burial of Mokonyane's late son and other family members. He said he signed off on the expenses used in the funeral, including the hiring of tents, air conditioning and marquees.
The former minister denied these allegations.
“We are the ones who procured the services of the funeral undertaker. We paid for the burial of my son and as to what Bosasa had contributed, like I don't know what other people have contributed, I further deny that.
“I was never approached by Bosasa and I really take offence of Agrizzi making us to be such an irresponsible family that can't even offer to bury their own child.”
Mokonyane said there was one instance where her husband asked their personal assistant to ask Bosasa to check their security system. She said there were no security upgrades that were done by Bosasa.
“There was an instant when our alarm was going off and because of that, I was not home, nor was my service provider available because they were out in the field ... [My PA] was asked by my husband [to contact Bosasa] because they were the only people he knew could come and assist - just to come and check what was going on.”
Audi A3 for Mokonyane's daughter
Mokonyane denied that she had any influence in Bosasa hiring vehicles for her daughter, as previously claimed by Agrizzi.
She said former Bososa boss Gavin Watson had business interests in China, and often asked her daughter for assistance since she is able to speak, interpret and write Mandarin. She disassociated herself from any arrangements between Watson and her daughter, as "they were both adults".
“When my daughter returned from China, she was invited by Gavin, who has known her as a little girl, long before the positions of government. Gavin had an interest in understanding some of the issues he would have to deal with when it comes to businesses in China. That has been their arrangement. She was offered that.”
Mokonyane did not deny that Bosasa may have sponsored some ANC events, but refuted allegations that if funding was made, it was at her insistence. She said she is not involved in the ANC's fundraising processes.
“The fundraising committee and the treasurer-general, together with those responsible for organising, come together and identify the needs. The treasurer of the ANC is the one who will go out and identify those that have to be approached. Others voluntarily come forward and say 'we want to endorse your manifesto, how can we lend a hand?'”