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SA Express incurred over R1m in irregular expenditure through Bosasa contracts

Jan 01 2019 16:21
Lameez Omarjee

Two security contracts that state-owned airline SA Express had with controversial facilities management company Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, resulted in over R1m of irregular expenditure, according to a written reply by Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.

The minister was replying to DA MP Mponeng Rabotapi, who had asked whether public enterprises had contracted services from Bosasa over the past 10 years. 

Rabotapi and other DA MPs have been posing questions to government ministries about whether they have links or contracts with Bosasa, which is being investigated by the Hawks for corruption related to prison contracts.

The company has also been in the spotlight for its links to politicians, such as paying for former President Jacob Zuma's birthday parties in 2015 and 2016 via Zuma's foundation, according to News24. 

In late 2018 a R500 000 donation from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson to the ANC presidential campaign of Cyril Ramaphosa came under scrutiny, after the president was asked about it in Parliament by DA leader Mmusi Maimane. 

Ramaphosa initially said the October 2017 payment was a matter between Bosasa and his son Andile, but later backtracked to say it was actually a donation towards his campaign, made without his knowledge. 

Bosasa, in turn, said the payment was from Watson in his personal capacity, and not the company.

ANC MP Vincent Smith, meanwhile, last year stepped down as chairperson of three of parliament's committees until investigations into allegations that he received payments totalling R670 000 from the company are against him are concluded. Smith has denied wrongdoing. 

SA Express

In his written reply, Gordhan said the airline had secured two contracts with Bosasa Security Services, both signed on June 29, 2012.

The first, a security services agreement, was for 36 months between from April 2012 and March 2015. A total of R623 022.85 of irregular expenditure was incurred as regulated procurement processes were not followed, due to the use of an expired contract.

The second contract – a firearm handling services contract to the value of R1.5m – was ro run between from June 2012 and April 2015.  This second contract was later found to have included irregular expenditure of R386 486. No reason for the irregular expenditure was provided, although a condonation process is still underway.

SA Express and other state-owned enterprises had missed the September deadlines for the tabling of their 2017/18 annual reports. According to the Auditor General, the irregular expenditure of audited state-owned enterprises amounted to R27bn

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