WATSON QUESTIONS SWIRL
Bosasa inquiry goes ahead, call for answers after car crash death
DESPITE the death of former Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson in a car crash near OR Tambo International Airport yesterday, a police probe into those involved in Bosasa-related scandals would go ahead.
This was according to Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi after the news of Watson’s death was made public.
“Our investigations will continue. A decision about Watson following his death will be made by the senior investigators and the prosecution. We will continue our investigation into Bosasa following what was brought to our attention,” Mulaudzi said.
As the first day of the related SA Revenue Services (Sars) tax inquiry kicks off today, officials remain tightlipped around the death of the former African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa) boss.
Watson was scheduled to testify at the inquiry today led by advocate Piet Marais into allegations that Bosasa had over the years dodged its tax obligations.
“In terms of the confidentiality clause, section 69 of the Tax Administration Act 2011, Sars does not share or divulge confidential information on taxpayers affairs,” Sars said in a statement, adding that it would not comment any further.
The commission of inquiry into state capture, where Watson had been implicated in dodgy government tender deals and possible acts of moneylaundering, also remained silent.
At the time of his death Watson was driving a Toyota Corolla which hit a barrier.
According to some news reports, his flashy BMW SUV was parked in the basement of the African Global Operations
People must stop speculations. I was told the car Watson normally drives has a mechanical
AGO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
offices in Krugersdorp.
It was still unclear where he was travelling to.
The company’s executive director, Papa Leshabane, who spoke on behalf of the Watson family, confirmed the death but slammed speculation surrounding it.
Speaking to eNCA, Leshabane said no foul play was suspected as it was a “simple” car accident.
“People must stop speculations. I was told that the car Watson normally drives has a mechanical problem and it was in a garage,” Leshabane said.
He said Watson used the companyregistered car because he needed a car for the weekend.
However, DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi appealed to the police to conduct a thorough investigation into the death of Watson.
“The police need to probe the circumstances leading up to the fateful accident involving the Bosasa boss whose company has billions of rand worth of tenders with the government and has channelled millions of rand into the coffers of the ANC in general and specifically the campaign of President Cyril Ramaphosa,” Malatsi said.
He said Watson’s death may have a material impact on the work of the inquiry into state capture headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
“It’s therefore vital, given the SAPS stating that a case of culpable homicide has been opened, that even a whiff of foul play is dispelled by a thorough and transparent investigation by the SAPS.
“This is to ensure that other witnesses are not intimidated by this incident and for the commission of inquiry to conduct its work without fear or favour.
“Angelo Agrizzi’s testimony, as well as the revelations by DA leader Mmusi Maimane of the cosy and potentially corrupt relationship Bosasa had with the ANC and Ramaphosa, indicate that Gavin Watson had a lot to say before the Zondo commission of inquiry,” Malatsi said.
There were also plenty of questions regarding Watson’s death and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s investigations and report on the R500 000 the late executive was said to have donated to Ramaphosa’s CR17 presidential campaign.
As part of her remedial actions in the Bosasa report released last month, Mkhwebane gave National Police Commissioner Kehla Sitole 30 days after the release of her report to investigate criminal conduct against Watson for lying under oath.
Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, was last night mum on Watson’s death and what this meant for Mkhwebane’s office.
Meanwhile, the ANC lauded Watson for his contribution to the Struggle.
Party spokesperson Pule Mabe said Watson, alongside his brothers Ronnie, Cheeky and Valence, had played a role in the Struggle for liberation from an early age.
“It was in his home province of the Eastern Cape, where comrade Gavin Watson made the admirable and brave choice of disassociating himself with the privilege that came with being a white male in apartheid South Africa and choosing to participate actively in pursuing the ideals of a free, democratic and non-racial South Africa,” Mabe said.
He said the Watson brothers were popular activists in the UDF and within the ANC’s underground structures.