Bosasa – Gavin Watson (and family)

Briefly stated months back that Angelo Agrizzi testified at the Zondo commission and a person can’t help but wonder: Who is the Watson family?  Agrizzi’s testimony detailed how corruption, fraud and money laundering ran amock at the company. How BOSASA used political connections and bribery to secure government tenders or sanctuary from prosecution.

Remember the R500 000 to Ramaphosa as well .. .. all the other Bosasa interviews.

Allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud involving Bosasa.

A group of politicians, campaign managers and strategists earned millions for their roles in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s successful ANC presidential campaign, with some having been on the CR17 payroll for the 12 months leading up to the party’s Nasrec conference.
Ramaphosa and his CR17 campaign

Leaked emails from ANC presidential campaign reveal the names of some of his potential donors and undermine the defence that Ramaphosa was kept at arm’s length of his funders.
Ramaphosa – “emails”behind Mkhwebane’s report


Malema vs Gordhan vs SONA Ramaphosa in SA Parliament – and VBS bank

Gavin Watson of Bosasa


earlier in 2019

Published on Jan 18, 2019
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, is set to continue spilling the beans, for a third day. Courtesy


Bosasa CEO Gavin and his brothers – among them former rugby executive Dan –were lauded as struggle icons during the apartheid era before falling foul of the law.  (previous government)

Legal matters should be taking up much of Gavin Watson’s time, given his position as chief executive officer of the Bosasa group, now African Global Operations – and the fact that he was rolled under the bus last week by former accomplice Angelo Agrizzi at the commission of inquiry into state capture.

But this is not the first time a member of the Watson clan has run foul of the law.

Watson’s older brother, Dan – widely known in Port Elizabeth and rugby circles as “Cheeky” – also finds himself in a spot of legal bother, after he and three others were arrested in 2017 on charges of fraud.

This followed a Hawks investigation into money laundering and corruption relating to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality’s beleaguered Integrated Public Transport System.

The allegations against the former Eastern Province (EP) Rugby president and his supposed accomplices are that said “cohorts” deposited the municipality’s money into the rugby union’s bank account for Watson to withdraw it and give it back to them.   He, in turn, has labelled the charges as malicious.

An EP Rugby insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was adamant that “nobody knows if he benefited” from the alleged scheme.

Nevertheless, Watson’s ongoing court case is a sizeable fall from grace for a man who made his name as a principled anti-apartheid activist whose born-again Christian values saw him and his brother, Valence, break segregation laws by playing rugby in the townships from the 1970’s.

As a result, the four Watson brothers – Dan, Valence, Ronnie and Gavin – who were born on a farm in the Eastern Cape, spoke fluent Xhosa and were raised by a preacher who taught them that everybody was equal, have always been seen as struggle giants in the Eastern Cape.

After 1994, they immersed themselves in the business of BEE.

Valence and Ronnie joined the Kebble mining empire, while Gavin started Bosasa, which had a number of subsidiaries – including Sondolo IT, Phezulu Fencing and Leading Prospect Trading.

The Bosasa group won government tenders to provide food and security to prisons, to feed and transport refugees at the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp, and to provide security at the country’s courts and airports.



However, this is not the first time a Watson has wound up on the wrong side of the law.    Dan Watson, Gavin’s older brother, is known in rugby circles as ‘Cheeky’. Dan, along with three others were arrested in 2017 on charges of fraud. The Hawks had investigated the possibility of money laundering and corruption in connection to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipal Transport System.

The ex-president of Eastern Province Rugby found himself facing down allegations of depositing municipal funds into the rugby unions bank in order to launder it back to the municipality. Naturally, Dan Watson had deemed the charges against him are malicious. A source from EP Rugby, who wished to stay anonymous, claims that nobody knows if Watson had benefited.

The ongoing case against this particular Watson has, nevertheless, damaged his image considerably. He had made his claim to fame as an anti-apartheid activist who had broken segregation laws by playing rugby in townships from the 1970’s along with his brother Valence. The four Watson brothers- Dan, Valence, Ronnie and Gavin – had been born on a farm in the Eastern Cape, speak fluent Xhosa and had been raised to see all people as equals by a preacher. Their work saw them enjoying an image as struggle icons in their province. After the fall of the Apartheid government, they had immersed themselves in BEE business.

Brothers Valence and Ronnie had joined the Kebble mining enterprise, Gavin had founded BOSASA along with its numerous subsidiaries.

BOSASA won numerous government tenders to render food and security services to prisons, transport and food for refugees at the Lindela Repatriation Centre as well as security at courts and airports. The anonymous source said that in light of everything the brothers had done, the recent expose was all the more terrible.

“They could have been charged for being in the township, but they did it anyway. They got a lot of attention from the Special Branch for that. But at the time, you could not make a more anti-racist statement than to play rugby in the townships.” The source also spoke about how they would have been excluded from their own community for their actions: “Can you imagine the social backlash they received from the white community? I believe that stalked Cheeky when he became EP president – he was never forgiven among the whites, and it showed in his failure to get sponsorship for the team from corporate business in Port Elizabeth.”

However, in what appears to be a characteristic of the Watson family, they had their reasons for it. At that point in time, the brothers had owned a men’s fashion shop, who mostly sold to black customers at a time when businesses were being burnt in uprisings. According to the source: “There will be a lot of people rejoicing about this [Gavin’s pending legal woes] because it would confirm a view they held back then. In a sense, this would be a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Gavin is not the only brother with questionable business practices. When Dan had become president of EP in 2008, the community had seen him as the man to take inclusive rugby to new heights.

Despite this, Dan had been forced to stand down after players had to liquidate the union for failing to pay salaries. One of the officials who had seen to his removal in 2016 had given a condemning view of his leadership:

“The way he ran things was similar to what [former president Jacob] Zuma did. He created a patronage system from the clubs that had people he used to play with, and that’s why he could run EP so badly for so long and got away with it.”

One of the biggest accusations against Cheeky had been his lack of accountability: “He did not hold an annual general meeting (AGM) and the rugby union was not audited in 2014 and 2015.”

According to the source, when Dan had finally held a AGM in 2016, Watson had attempted to manipulate the situation by reading from the Bible instead of giving his president’s report.

“When we finally ousted him for changing audited financial statements, we inherited a union that was liquidated, run by SA Rugby, and had a players’ academy that was falling apart – and we had to start with R31 in the bank account.” Dan Watson’s son, Luke, would go on to play rugby professionally, but had a difficult time with the sport and its white, Afrikaans following.

Luke had been a prodigy, leading every team he played for at school. The family nurtured ambitions of him captaining the Springboks and completing the family’s fight for equality in the sport. However, his dreams would never come to pass. He only played 10 tests for the national test after his inclusion had been forced on the coach at the time, Jake White. Deemed ‘a cancer’ in John Smit’s book, showed just how unpopular this Watson had been. He had also infamously been recorded fingering the fact that rugby was ‘run by Dutchmen’ as the sports biggest problem, along with saying he wanted to vomit on the national team’s jersey. What should have been one of the most prominent families in the struggle to bring about social and economic transformation in South Africa seems instead to have been one of the biggest instigators of the nation’s downfall. Only time will tell if the allegations against Gavin Watson and his brother Dan ‘Cheeky’ Watson ring true.



The South African Revenue Service is gunning for the facilities management and security company and Watson. This as it tries to find out whether Watson hid funds from the taxman. More than 20 witnesses are expected to appear before the inquiry.


The reports indicate that Bosasa paid Zuma R300,000 every month, while Jiba and Mrwebi pocketed R100,000 and R10,000 respectively for their silence.

The Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture looks set for another explosive week, with a former Bosasa boss expected to implicate former president Jacob Zuma, former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) bosses and other officials in a wide-ranging bribery scandal.

According to reports, Zuma allegedly pocketed R300,000 every month for a lengthy period of time to protect Bosasa’s top management from prosecution for paying millions of rands in bribes to secure government tenders.

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi made startling revelations at the commission this week detailing how every contract government entered into with Bosasa was tainted by corruption.

Agrizzi painted a shocking picture at the commission this week on the extent of corruption at Bosasa and its dodgy deals with the government and the African National Congress (ANC).

He’s been put under witness protection after proceedings were halted on Thursday due to a security threat.

Now, it’s being reported that Agrizzi will implicate Zuma, Lawrence Mrwebi and Nomgcobo Jiba, disgraced former South African Airways board chair Dudu Myeni and Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.

The reports indicate that Bosasa paid Zuma R300,000 every month, while Jiba and Mrwebi pocketed R100,000 and R10,000 respectively for their silence.

Agrizzi is also expected to give details of how Bosasa boss Gavin Watson allegedly showered Myeni and Mokonyane with gifts such as designer hand bags stuffed with cash and expensive alcohol.


Explosive testimony at the Zondo Commission on State Capture has lifted the lid on gross corruption and bribery, lining the palms of influential politicians and the blocking of police investigations, while filling the coffers of Bosasa. Carte Blanche speaks to the man who’s laid the rot bare – Angelo Agrizzi.


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