Watson family attacks the 'vicious' media at memorial for former Bosasa boss

2019-08-30 13:10

WATCH LIVE | Gavin Watson remembered at Joburg memorial

2019-08-30 11:03

Friends and relatives gather to pay their respects to former Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson who died in a car crash near OR Tambo International Airport.WATCH

The memorial service of former Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson kicked off on Friday morning with speeches and eulogies from his family members and business associates.

Valance Watson, Watson's brother, kicked off his eulogy by lambasting the media for its treatment of his brother: "Journalists tell you that I am a liar, but history is written by journalists who have hung heroes." He changed the quote of the movie Braveheart to include the word "journalists".

He said the media created a negative environment in South Africa and added that he was angry about the manner in which journalists covered Bosasa news and created a racist narrative that tore people apart.

LIVE | Gavin was always accessible - Watson's memorial

He said the Bosasa CEO was concerned about how this affected him, as well as his family and colleagues.

"What bothered Gavin was the vicious press," he said.

The brother also said, when a journalist sent Gavin Watson an email which angered him, Watson replied: "Jesus loves you."

Watson's son, Roth Watson, also spoke about how his father loved his work, mentioning that the Global Smart City Campus was his "pride and joy".

The son said his father's kindness was immeasurable and gave examples of about 30 créches for children who had been "left to rot" as well as his support for safe homes and soup kitchens across the country.

Jared Watson, Gavin Watson's nephew, also spoke at the memorial, weeping as he carried on.

He said he knew people wanted to see if the "conspiracy theories are true" and Watson was actually still alive. Gavin Watson was alive in his family, he said.

Jared also took a shot at the media, saying: "The media has perpetuated this idea that for people to come together and pray for the prosperity of the country… qualifies as a cult…" He said this was not an attack on the family or Bosasa, but "an attack on the church itself".

He added that "there are people in this room who are still coming under attack."

The nephew also said there had been assassination attempts on Gavin Watson's life, one which almost left him dead.

Now that his uncle was gone, Jared said, he thought about the Bosasa youth centres for troubled children and about who would help the children.

Gavin Watson's religious belief was highlighted in these eulogies as he ended every phone call with a prayer and taught his grandchildren to pray "perfectly" within a month.

He died earlier this week when he crashed a Bosasa Toyota Corolla fleet vehicle into a concrete pillar near OR Tambo International Airport. The family has not ruled out foul play.

He was supposed to testify at an inquiry into his tax affairs the day before he died.

The inquiry was part of an investigation by the South African Revenue Services (SARS) into his tax compliance, following revelations at the state capture commission of inquiry.

He was also implicated in a number of alleged corruption allegations by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, who testified at the state capture commission of inquiry.

Inquiry chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, said this week that he had signed a directive for Watson to furnish the inquiry with an affidavit before he died.

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Read more on:    bosasa  |  gavin watson  |  johannesburg ­  |  accidents

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