Former president Jacob Zuma has expressed doubts over whether former Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson’s death in a car crash last week was an accident.
Zuma addressed mourners at Watson's funeral that was held in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
Watson was killed when his Toyota Corolla crashed into a pillar near OR Tambo International Airport last Monday morning.
Many at the funeral, which was attended by about 700 people, roared with approval when Zuma declared Watson his brother and friend.
Hinting at conspiracy theories, Zuma said: "And I'm hoping that the investigation will prove me wrong, that comrade Gavin is not one of those who were cleverly removed."
He added the report he had been given by the Watson family had gaps.
'Enemy hated this family'
Narrating Watson's role in the struggle, Zuma said the Watson brothers became the champions of the ANC's policies.
"They became a big asset of the African National Congress. The enemy hated this family so much, to a point they wanted them to be killed."
Zuma added he had become worried about how "comrades close to him" were "being removed".
"What are we going to do with the enemy agents who are within the liberation movement?"
'This was my brother'
The former president said counter-liberation movements elsewhere on the continent had previously used South Africa as a strategic location geographically.
Zuma added during the negotiation for a new democracy almost three decades ago, apartheid agencies had not wanted to return captured comrades or leave their agents alone.
"We negotiated in good faith, but what did they do - they worked with their friends in other countries."
He said this was done in order to erode South Africa's democracy.
"In the process the ANC had to dismantle its intelligence agency called iMbokodo."
He added he hoped Watson was not a victim of the operations still functioning outside the borders of South Africa.
"Bekuhumfowethu lo [this was my brother]," said Zuma.
'We are indebted to this family'
During his address earlier on Tuesday, the premier of the Eastern Cape and ANC provincial chairperson, Oscar Mabuyane, lambasted those who had been whistleblowers against Bosasa's activities.
Despite being on opposite sides of the ANC's eventual road to removing Zuma as president, Mabuyane agreed with Zuma that Watson had played a big role in helping the ANC and country.
He said Watson gave to both factions of the ANC, as long as one had an interest to take the country forward.
"The good work of nation building that the Watsons did is well-documented. All efforts are being made to de-legitimise the work he has done."
Mabuyane said the name of Gavin Watson would be recorded in the list of names of those who were important in the Eastern Cape.
"We are indeed hugely indebted to this family who donated their sons to the struggle for the liberation of our people."
Mabuyane said there was only one mistake that Watson made and that was "to allow wolves in sheep's clothing to get closer in his life".
"And we have seen how wolves who came into comrade Gavin's life pretending to be harmless revealed their true colours," he added.
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