‘We’ve lost a leader,’ says Joe Gumede at Gavin Watson’s funeral

Joe Gumede

Former president Jacob Zuma was also in attendance, alongside Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane.

The Watson family, former president Jacob Zuma, friends, and associates of the late Bosasa boss Gavin Watson attended his funeral in Port Elizabeth Feather Market Centre on Tuesday.

Watson, who died last week when the car he was travelling in hit a concrete pillar, was plunged into the spotlight at the commission of inquiry into state capture, where Bosasa’s former chief operating officer, Angelo Agrizzi, testified about his alleged underhanded modus operandi to win multibillion-rand government tenders.

Watson’s daughter, Linsay, opened proceedings by reading a letter that was mounted on the Watson family wall, where Gavin’s mother expressed her affection for him.

Watson’s son, Roth, took the podium next to pay tribute. He described his father as a man of God.

Third to take the podium was chairperson of African Global Operations Joe Gumede, who described his first meeting with Watson. He said he first met Gavin in 1995 at a presentation were Watson gave a presentation in isiXhosa.

“Gavin believed in development and true empowerment. One of his passions was technology. Watson didn’t believe in titles,” said Gumede.

In closing, he said the company and family had lost a leader.

Gavin’s brother, Valance Watson, said the family was a family of faith. Speaking in isiXhosa, he asked mourners to bring unity to Port Elizabeth.

Friends and family paid their final respects to the late businessman.

Former president Jacob Zuma was in attendance alongside Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, seated in the front row. During the song and dance, Zuma was seen swaying side to side during the guard of honour around Watson’s casket.

Zuma was received by ululations when he arrived at the funeral. Hundreds of mourners had filed into the venue to pay their last respects.

Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane – who is among those who were at the state capture commission named as the alleged recipients of Bosasa bribes – was not seen at the funeral, but spoke highly of Watson during his memorial on Friday.

She warned that the time for her testimony would come, for her to table her side of the story on allegations of corruption made by Agrizzi.

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