[imagesource: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times]
There is still a great deal of uncertainty around the death of Gavin Watson.
What we know for sure is that his funeral was a who’s who of ANC powerhouse politicians, which showed just how ingratiated he was with the party’s power structures.
Clearly, those ANC members in attendance were willing to overlook a rather long laundry list of indiscretions on the former Bosasa CEO’s part, but I would guess that the handbags full of money played a part on that front.
Ultimately, we are only now learning more about how Bosasa worked behind the scenes, with News24’s Adriaan Basson penning a new book, Blessed by Bosasa: Inside Gavin Watson’s state capture cult.
Via News24, let’s get a quick snapshot of some of the standout revelations:
Watson deceived the ANC Women’s League when the company was formed. They believed they owned it, while in actual fact Watson took ownership
Watson had pictures of Basson and Willie Hofmeyr, a former head of the Special Investigations Unit, which he blessed and prayed for. He even had a white cross with a picture of Hofmeyr in his garden.
How the late Vernie Petersen, a former prisons boss, was hounded from office by then prisons minister Ngconde Balfour and feared for his life when he started questioning the Bosasa tenders. He died a broken man.
That Nomvula Mokonyane, who was fired by President Cyril Ramaphosa and now works at Luthuli House, was “like an employee at Bosasa” and that Watson expected staff “to drop everything” when she made demands
So all of that is pretty damning, but it’s his relationship with Lindie Gouws, with whom he was engaged in an extra-marital affair, that is picked apart in great detail.
It sure seems at odds with Watson’s devotion to Christianity, but then so does all the corruption and general malpractice.
In we go:
Calling herself “the bride of Christ”, and often referred to as “Mrs Watson” or “die grootbaas se cherrie” (the big boss’s girlfriend), she seemingly lived with Watson at a complex in Krugersdorp, with her underwear being spotted on his washing line, her car outside his house while he walked around near-naked in his boxer shorts and doing shopping together. His bathroom was also filled with her cosmetics.
She denied the affair to Basson, saying that she did not have a sexual relationship with Watson. “The rumour was purposefully spread on the [Bosasa] campus that we had an affair. People have a perverted image [of our relationship],” she said…
Basson also reveals details of male executives preying on female staff. One executive bought a fridge for every woman he had sex with, while another was caught having sex on a boardroom table. Cleaners also complained of the company’s guesthouse on the Bosasa premises in Krugersdorp, with “all the semen” staining the desks, floor and beds.
That is really, really dark and disturbing.
Let’s sprinkle in some racism while we’re at it:
He told Agrizzi and senior employee Retief van der Merwe: “You better get these k*****s in line.” He also called them “darkies”, saying: “Why do you think I employ these k*****s? Because they’re stupid. They’ve got nothing between the ears. They’re thick and I can control them. I can do whatever I want with them; they need the money.”
I guess if you weren’t an ANC bigwig who could use political influence to help Watson, he wasn’t all that bothered about being a champion of upliftment, and some of the other platitudes rolled out at his funeral.
Perhaps we may, in time, learn what really caused his car to crash into a concrete pillar near OR Tambo International Airport, but chances are that too will remain shrouded in mystery.
If you want to read an extract from Basson’s book, you can do so here.
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