Human Rights Commission sets sights on Gavin Watson's family over Agrizzi's k-word audio clip

27 June 2019 - 18:42 By Nico Gous
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi
Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) plans to take on members of controversial Bosasa boss Gavin Watson's family over an audio recording of state capture whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi in which he used the k-word.

TimesLIVE understands Watson's children are among those in the commission's sights over the recording, which was apparently made without Agrizzi's knowledge.

The commission wants to speak to the family members over the recording and sharing of the audio clip.

The commission's Gauteng manager Buang Jones said the first part of the legal battle over the recording played out in the Equality Court on Thursday, where Agrizzi and the SAHRC reached a settlement. Agrizzi agreed to pay R200,000 to the Barney Mokgatle Foundation in Alexandra, Johannesburg, following his use of the k-word in the audio clip, which was played during his testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry earlier this year.

The settlement was made an order of court.

Jones said the second part of its case involved taking action against those who recorded the meeting and leaked the conversation without Agrizzi’s permission or knowledge.

"They will have to explain to this court how it ended up in the public," he said.

Jones added that the Equality Act states that "no one may disseminate or publicise any information that unfairly discriminates".

Agrizzi told TimesLIVE on Thursday that Gavin Watson's children - son Roth Watson and daughter Lindsay Watson - were there when the recorded conversation took place. Also present, he said, was Watson's nephew, Jarrod Watson.

This was not the first time that a fee of R200,000 had been agreed to in a case.

Jones, a human rights attorney, said they had reached the same settlement amount in a case earlier this year where a farm worker was forced to eat his faeces. In February this year, the Equality Court ordered a Springs family to pay Joseph Mona the sum for the impairment of his dignity and for causing him pain and emotional and psychological suffering.

The case dated back to December 2017, when Mona was force-fed faeces and racially abused by his employers after he failed to switch on a septic tank pump. The Leicester family members had also forced Mona into the sewer hole, where he almost drowned. In addition to the fine, they were ordered to attend a programme on race relations for three months at the Human Rights Commission.

Jones said: "It is by far the highest damages award in SA since the establishment of the equality courts. We used that precedent as the basis for our legal strategy in this case [the Agrizzi matter]."