NATIONAL NEWS - The controversial CEO of facilities management company Bosasa, Gavin Watson, reportedly died in a car accident near OR Tambo Airport on Monday, 26 August, the SABC is reporting.
Bosasa was renamed African Global Operations, and his former accomplice Angelo Agrizzi offered damning testimony of bribes, corruption and state capture against him and the company.
The four Watson brothers – Dan, Valence, Ronnie and Gavin – were born on a farm in the Eastern Cape, could speak fluent Xhosa and be raised by a preacher who taught them to respect everybody, particularly black people, as their equals. They had always been considered struggle giants in the Eastern Cape.
They benefited from empowerment deals after 1994, with Bosasa famously winning government tenders to supply food and security to prisons, to feed and transport refugees at the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp, and offer security at courts and airports.
Despite being hailed as a hero whose family earned anti-apartheid credentials, to former Bosasa chief financial officer Andries van Tonder, Watson “a boss from hell”, he said in testimony.
What was once a warm working relationship between the two began to deteriorate when Van Tonder stopped attending regular “prayer meetings” at Bosasa offices, championed by Watson.
“Initially I attended the prayer meetings at Bosasa which began in 2000,” he said.
“I viewed the prayer meetings as a tool Mr Watson used to determine one’s loyalty to him. He called on everyone to pray louder and you needed to indicate where you stood.”
Their relationship soured, however, when he stopped attending.
The former auditor of Bosasa, Peet Venter, also told the commission of inquiry into state capture that Watson always wanted someone else to blame for his actions, would instruct people to act illegally, and would later discard them to get rid of the evidence, thereby ensuring no fingers got pointed at him.
During his marathon testimony, Agrizzi told the commission that he made regular “coincidental and business” visits to an airport to deliver grey security bags filled with money to certain officials.
Venter told the commission that he regarded these payments – among many other alleged illegal payments – “as illegal as [Watson] didn’t give too much detail to me”.
“No fingers were pointing to Mr Watson because he used people,” Venter told the commission.