Gavin Watson leaves complex legacy, says co-author of 'The Bosasa Billions'

'You'll either hear that Watson was an iconic struggle hero and a successful businessman or that he was the deeply corrupt leader of a state capture cult,' says James-Brent Styan

27 August 2019 - 10:26
'The Bosasa Billions: How the ANC sold its soul for braaipacks, booze and bags of cash'.
'The Bosasa Billions: How the ANC sold its soul for braaipacks, booze and bags of cash'.
Image: LAPA

Gavin Watson was a complex character and leaves a complex legacy, says James-Brent Styan, co-author of The Bosasa Billions, following the news that Watson, former Bosasa CEO, was killed in a horrific car accident in the early hours of Monday morning.

"Depending on who you ask, you'll either hear that Watson was an iconic struggle hero and a successful businessman or that he was the deeply corrupt leader of a state capture cult," says Styan, who has researched Watson's Port Elizabeth roots and his involvement in the Bosasa state capture scandal.

"It is known that Watson didn't keep notes or records. He didn't have a computer or an office. The impact of his death on the Bosasa investigations is therefore immense. He was a central figure to uncovering the truth about all the allegations relating to Bosasa, and now he's not here any more to tell his version of events. It's a major setback for the investigation."

Adds Paul Vecchiatto, Styan's co-author: "We are shocked to hear of his untimely death. He, along with his family, played a pivotal and controversial role in the shaping of South African politics and business.

"We would have dearly wanted to see Mr Watson appear before the commission of inquiry into state capture to tell his side of the story as we believe he had the most in-depth knowledge of all involved. Our sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones."

The Bosasa Billions is the first definitive account of the Bosasa saga, in which Watson was a key role player.


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