Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi takes the stand at the state capture inquiry on January 22 2019. Picture: ALON SKUY
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi takes the stand at the state capture inquiry on January 22 2019. Picture: ALON SKUY

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi has named three journalists the company allegedly paid for information.

Last week, during his testimony to the state capture inquiry, Agrizzi, when talking about bribes paid to officials in the department of correctional services and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), briefly mentioned that journalists were also paid. 

However, at the time no names were given and he was not asked questions regarding this.

The commission, headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, met the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) at the weekend. 

Following this meeting, the commission on Monday asked Agrizzi if he knew the names of the journalists who were paid. 

Agrizzi said Bosasa executive Papa Leshabane was given R71,000 a month to pay bribes on behalf of the company, of which he said R30,000 was for journalists.

“At the time Bosasa had been going through a very rough match in terms of negative reporting. He [Leshabane] had approached us and said he has some friends who are related to people and friends he knows who have the ability to swing journalistic view points on Bosasa and write positive stories,” he told the commission.

Agrizzi said the purpose of paying the journalists was to get information about whether a negative story would be published so that Bosasa could deal with it

Agrizzi did not have the full names of all the journalists. He said one of the journalists was someone called Ntuli, another was from the Eastern Cape who he only knew as Bongz and the third was former Sunday Times columnist Pinky Khoabane. 

Agrizzi said he could not confirm that the journalists actually received the money, but was told by Leshabane that he was paying them.

Khoabane responded on Twitter saying she had never met Agrizzi.

“I simply reported on his racist rants and his links.” 

She said she would make a submission to the commission. 

Twitter users then told her that Agrizzi did not say he met her, but that she had received money from Leshabane. She tweeted that she needed to listen to Agrizzi’s testimony, and was reacting to comments on Twitter. 

Agrizzi also testified about a campaign to discredit journalists who were writing negative stories about Bosasa.

He said an e-mail that was being circulated alleging that Bosasa donated money to the SABC eight was fake.

The SABC eight were a group of journalists from the public broadcaster who had stood up against then COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng over editorial policies he enforced.