Johannesburg – Former president Jacob Zuma’s close ally, Dudu Myeni, was viewed as being so powerful politically that controversial facilities management company Bosasa was prepared to do anything to keep her happy.
This is according to former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi, who took the stand for the eighth day at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Monday.
Agrizzi said the company had made monthly cash payments of R300000 to Myeni – allegedly meant for the Jacob Zuma Foundation which she chairs – delivered in bags to Zuma by Myeni.
Myeni, the former SAA chairperson, responded to Agrizzi’s claims on Monday, describing him as a liar and a racist.
Agrizzi said Myeni had over a few years played a central role in assisting the company to evade prosecution or gain an advantage on transactions by using her proximity to Zuma.
Neither Myeni nor Zuma responded to this publication by deadline.
Myeni told eNCA that she had never had a meeting at Bosasa offices with chief executive Gavin Watson.
“We went as a delegation to see their prawn plant, it was an official visit. This man (Agrizzi) is lying. His greed is worrisome.”
“Since he is so good at providing pictures and proof, he must give us pictures of the Louis Vuitton bag. I refute getting this bag and R300 000 a month from Bosasa. He is anti-black, anti-black women and he’s a racist, bitter man,” Myeni told the news channel.
At the Zondo inquiry yesterday, Agrizzi detailed how a vistvibly nervous Myeni once brought a police docket relating to a fraud and corruption investigation into Bosasa for its executives to see and take notes at a meeting in Pretoria, where she urged them not to make copies or take photographs.
“She said she was trying to arrange so that the investigation be terminated by the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority). She produced the police case docket but was insistent that I do not make copies,” he said.
Agrizzi said he had, however, secretly taken photographs of the docket, which is now being used as part of the evidence by the commission.
Myeni would later be the primary contact person between Bosasa and Zuma, a role which saw her also getting favours from the company, the commission heard.
These included visits by Watson and his business associates to the Nkandla homestead to meet Zuma for favours which were meant for Zuma and Myeni.
“There were times when she would call on Gavin Watson to arrange functions, high-end functions and expensive functions for Jacob Zuma, and then there were times that she needed stuff done at her house in terms of security.
“We never asked questions and we just went and did it because she was very important. “She could swing deals. She was very powerful,” Agrizzi said.
Agrizzi said Watson bragged about the benefits of Zuma’s political protection. “We used to have morning meetings which were plagued by renditions of what a brilliant president he was and how phenomenal he was.
“He always praised him. He had a very good rapport with him. He believed he was totally bulletproof with Mr Zuma on his side.” According to Agrizzi, Zuma also tried to sway top officials in the NPA in a bid to have prosecutions against Bosasa aborted.
He said the company used its relations with Zuma to influence policy changes to advance its business interests in the mining and energy industries when it was approached to partner in a fracking transaction in the Karoo.
“One of the major issues that the whole fracking transaction had, was some of the restrictions in terms of the legalities that needed to be resolved.
“Certain amendments to the actual regulations were required and the best person to do that was the president and that is why we made sure that we remained close to Dudu Myeni,” he said.