James Selfe: I spent years calling for inquiry into Bosasa-govt contracts

He’s told the state capture inquiry the African National Congress showed little appetite for investigating the allegations, even after a preliminary special investigating report led to the suspension of an implicated official.

FILE: Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament James Selfe. Picture: Christa Eybers/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Veteran politician James Selfe has on Tuesday told the state capture inquiry how he spent years calling for an inquiry into lucrative contracts between the Department of Correctional Services and Bosasa and affiliated companies but to no avail.

He’s told the state capture inquiry the African National Congress (ANC) showed little appetite for investigating the allegations, even after a preliminary special investigating report led to the suspension of an implicated official.

The inquiry has already heard evidence on how Bosasa and its top executives gave loans and other benefits to some ANC leaders, correctional services officials and the ANC itself.

Former ANC MP Vincent Smith, who once chaired the correctional services oversight committee of which Selfe is a member, is now facing fraud and corruption charges in this regard, although he’s denied any wrongdoing.

A report by the Special Investigating Unit was good enough to warrant the suspension of correctional services official, Patrick Gillingham, but was not enough to stop the renewal of a Bosasa catering contract, where there’d been alleged collusion in drawing up the specifications.

Selfe said the contract was instead repeatedly renewed and extended until very recently, while Gillingham resigned before his disciplinary hearing’s findings were announced, apparently to preserve his pension.

He said his calls for an independent or parliamentary inquiry were in vain: “Many calls over many years, that these events should be investigated, either by the committee or by some appropriate inquiry – but it normally fell on deaf ears and there was very little acceptance of that suggestion from the majority party.”

It was only after Bosasa’s former COO Angelo Aggrizzi testified at the state capture inquiry that people were charged with offences dating back to years earlier.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has adjourned the state capture inquiry early on Tuesday and said it would only resume its hearings on Thursday.

Zondo said this was because he had other commitments.

“I am not going to be able to sit until the normal time this afternoon because of some commitments and we are not going to have a session tomorrow because I need to be somewhere else.”

Zondo did not give further details.

Hearings this week have focused on Parliament's duty to exercise oversight over the work of the executive arm of government, and the inquiry has been hearing evidence of how this failed.

Zondo said the inquiry would make up for lost time by sitting longer on Thursday and Friday, if necessary.

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