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Mystery safe auctioned for R3,500 as Bosasa auction comes to an end

06 December 2019 - 15:18 By Naledi Shange
A locked safe without a key went for a surprisingly high price considering its contents were unknown.
A locked safe without a key went for a surprisingly high price considering its contents were unknown.
Image: Supplied

A mystery safe, without a key and with its contents unknown, was sold on Friday as part of the Bosasa auction.

The safe sold for R3,500 — and the buyer will also need to drop some cash to get a new key or cut through the steel case. And after all this, the safe might turn out to be empty.

It was one of the prized possessions belonging to liquidated African Global Operations (previously known as Bosasa) which was auctioned at the company’s former headquarters in Krugersdorp on Friday.

Clive Lazarus, an appraiser to the master of the high court, said it was very unusual for such a purchase to go at this price.

“It is very rare,” Lazarus told TimesLIVE on the sidelines of the auction.

Usually such an item collected very little, he explained, because of the costs of  transporting such a heavy item.

As the safe was displayed on the screen during the auction, it caused a lot of murmurs among bidders, with some speculating on whether there could be cash or jewellery inside.

Perhaps it was the idea that the safe could contain personal items, cash, or even secrets belonging to former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi or the late CEO Gavin Watson that drove up the price.

Both men came under the spotlight at the ongoing inquiry into state capture, where allegations were made that Bosasa benefited from fraudulent tenders worth billions of rands from the state over more than a decade.

But Lazarus said it was unlikely it contained anything of value.

“I am sure that particular safe has not had a key for a long time ... I think one of the staff went off with the key but the safe was never utilised. It never stored anything new. There could be books and records. It could even be empty,” he said.

Usually, a brand new safe of this nature cost about R8,000. Making a new key could cost about R500 so, either way, the buyer may have scored a good deal with this particular purchase.

Friday marked the third and final day of the three-day Bosasa auction.

On previous days, the liquidated company’s vehicles were sold, including the late Watson's BMW. On Thursday, the company headquarters, where the auction was being held, was sold for R14m.

The final day of the auction, however, saw the once mighty Bosasa auctioning items as mundane as coffee jars and milk jugs, waste bins and garden tools, water coolers, microwaves, dishwashers, bar fridges, couches, printers and television sets.

One of the highest prices paid was for a boardroom table and chairs which fetched


The Bosasa boardroom furnisher which was auctioned for R242 000.
The Bosasa boardroom furnisher which was auctioned for R242 000.
Image: Supplied.

A large industrial Nespresso coffee machine was also one of the big buys, fetching R96,000.

The machine was bought by a man who had bought several coffee machines during the auction.

Among the TV sets, some of which were old, boxed-style sets, was also plenty of artwork.

Bosasa seemed to have had a liking for an  artist who goes by the name Bongani. More than a dozen of his paintings, which previously hung in Bosasa’s buildings, were sold at the auction. Many of them were sold for more than R1,500 each.

Other items of interest that were sold included handmade vases, which sold for more than R1,000.

Park Village Auctions and Bidders Choice received instructions from the liquidators to dispose of the assets.

The companies in question are Global Technology Systems, Bosasa Properties, Rodcor, African Global Operations, Watson Corporate Academy, On-IT-1, Bosasa IT, Bosasa Supply Chain Management, Leading Prospect Trading 111, Bosasa Youth Development Centres and Black Rox Security Intelligence Services.