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ANC hails Gavin Watson as an ‘anti-apartheid activist’

The governing party has joined in offering condolences to the family of Watson after he died in a car accident near OR Tambo International Airport on Monday morning.

Gavin Watson. Picture: Bosasa

JOHANNESBURG - Former African Global Operations boss Gavin Watson has been hailed by the African National Congress (ANC) as a cadre and an anti-apartheid activist.

The governing party has joined in offering condolences to the Watson family after he died in a car accident near OR Tambo International Airport on Monday morning.

Watson was implicated by witnesses at the state capture commission of inquiry and was accused of corruption involving ANC members and some government officials.

The ANC said it learnt with shock of the passing of Watson in a car accident.

In a statement, the party goes on to relay how he and his brothers Ronnie, Cheeky and Valence associated themselves with the struggle for liberation at an early age and fought side-by-side with many compatriots against apartheid.

The party also said Watson, in particular, played a significant role in providing support, through the family businesses, to Umkhonto we Sizwe activists who were being pursued by the police.

The Democratic Alliance also extended its condolences to the Watson family but said police needed to launch a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident as Watson's death could have a material impact on the state capture commission of inquiry.

Meanwhile, James Brent-Styan, the author The Bosasa Billions - a book detailing Watson's dealings, said his death was a major setback for the investigation as he didn’t keep notes or records and didn’t have a computer or an office.

Watson's death comes at a time when the country is still digesting the extent of Bosasa's alleged corruption and its association with high profile people in government.

The state capture commission heard explosive details about how Bosasa operated under its now late CEO.

By operating, allegedly laundering money, bribing politicians in exchange for tenders and other favours as well as access to confidential National Prosecuting Authority and Special Investigating Unit documents.

Former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi implicated Watson in almost his entire testimony at the Zondo inquiry alleging that the late CEO also paid staff hush monies.

This, he said, included R6 million that Watson allegedly spent every month on those he sought favours from in government.

“The use of cash was from the safe, which was predominantly used for illegal activities.”

Watson’s association with high profile people was never a secret.

His company donated R500,000 towards Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential campaign in 2017.

That donation has proved to be a headache for Ramaphosa’s Presidency.

Watson also had close ties with former President Jacob Zuma and is believed to have contributed financially to some of his ANC related events.

The controversial man is now no more and the country will never know his side of the story.

On Monday, Agrizzi told Eyewitness News that while they fell out with Watson, he was still saddened by his passing.

DEATH SPECULATIONS

South Africans have questioned the circumstances surrounding Watson's death with some suggesting the crash scene was staged and he may still be alive while others say the Toyota Corolla he was driving does not match his net worth.

Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlovu is among the public figures that have commented about Watson’s death on Twitter.

He said the crash comes just a week after the death of lawyer Barry Eugene Farber who was linked to Bosasa's R500,000 donation to Ramaphosa's ANC presidential campaign.

The Black First Land First has also commented on social media; they believe Watson was murdered to silence him on the Ramaphosa's donation.

They have also drawn a link between Watson and Farber's deaths.