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Finally: Bosasa arrests – and what it means

You’re going to want to sit down for this.

Remember the last time anyone senior was arrested for corruption? No? Well, on Wednesday, a ten-year-old investigation into what is surely one of the biggest cases of fraud and corruption the country has ever seen, finally bore fruit.

According to reports, the Hawks arrested several people implicated, including former government service provider Bosasa officials, Angelo Agrizzi and Andries van Tonder, and former correctional services boss Patrick Gillingham. More bigwigs are sure to be added to the charge sheet.

Agrizzi has spent the past few weeks giving grizzly evidence to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry about how Bosasa executives allegedly bribed government officials with millions of Rands to score tenders worth over R1 billion.

The arrests are significant because, in a country ravaged by corruption, arrests like this are as rare as running water in Beaufort West. But while the arrests show that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is not quite as asleep as we thought it was, they could also complicate things. Will Agrizzi strike a deal with the NPA to get a lighter sentence because he is giving evidence at the Zondo commission? And will this discourage other whistleblowers from coming forward?

Ultimately, it will be the NPA on trial if this case ever goes to court.