Chalk another one up for the "why am I not surprised?" file. The ANC has the anti-Midas touch: everything it touches turns to shit. The recent SAA drugs smuggling incident can be traced back to the ANC. Surprised?
A who's who of party stalwarts have served as directors of Reshebile Aviation & Protection Services and its parent companiesJohannebsurg - Reshebile Aviation & Protection Services (RAPS), the company responsible for the security screening of South African Airways personnel, has close links to the ruling African National Congress.
A number of ANC stalwarts have served on the board of the company including Gertrude Shope, Paul Langa, and Henry Makgothi. Another director, Lawrence Mazibuko, is a former presidential bodyguard.
RAPS was catapulted into the news recently after an employee, Pulane Hlahane, 43, confessed to her role in helping a cabin crew member smuggle a consignment of narcotics out of the country. This followed the discovery by British customs officials at London Heathrow of 50 kilos of cannabis (dagga) and 4 kilos of cocaine in the baggage of SAA crew members. The level of security at SAA's Airways Park at OR Tambo subsequently came under criticism with an anonymous employee telling the Saturday Star that it was "so lax it is a joke."
SAA has now implemented a comprehensive review of its security arrangements. Spokeswoman for SAA, Robyn Chalmers, says that as a result of the discovery of the recent security breach "SAA is undertaking a full review of its security procedures which includes a review of RAPS. The outcome of this review will determine the way forward."
RAPS is a joint venture between Zonkizizwe Security Services (ZSS) and KwaZulu-Natal Security. In 2003 the newly founded company won what the KZN Security website describes as a "lucrative contract" with SAA. Chalmers confirms that in 2003 RAPS "was successful in its bid to provide security services within limited SAA operational areas countrywide. The contract was for three years. In the 2007 tender process, SAA changed the scope of required security services to appoint one service provider across all areas of its security operations. RAPS was the successful bidder after an extensive tender process." City Press reported at the time that the contract, eventually awarded in October 2007, was worth R90m over the three years of its duration.
The two directors of KZN Security Services are Shadrack Dladla a former policeman, and Lawrence Mazibuko, a former personal bodyguard to the South African president and deputy president.
They also serve as directors of RAPS. A 2004 Mail & Guardian report claimed that KZN Security Services "has previously been linked to the ANC... [Mazibuko] is understood to have served at one time as a bodyguard to Jacob Zuma."
According to Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) records the current directors of Zonkiziwe Security Services are the ANC stalwarts Gertrude Shope and Paul Langa. Two other ANC stalwarts, Henry Gordon Makgothi and the late Bambela Alois Manci, are listed as former directors of the company. Makgothi is a director of the ANC investment company, Chancellor House Holdings. He apparently resigned as director of ZSS and as the chairperson of Zonkizizwe Investments two years ago.
According to company records Shope remains a director of RAPS. Manci, Langa, and another ANC stalwart John Nkadimeng, are listed as former directors of the company.
In reply to a query from Politicsweb ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus stated that there "is no relationship between ZSS and Chancellor House. They are two independent companies with their own directors." He added that the ANC has "never benefited from ZSS or Reshebile. They are independent service providers to anybody who need their services (including the ANC)."