State Capture Inquiry

Joining the dots: Angelo Agrizzi, the Watson brothers and the Bosasa backstory

Corruption-accused facilities management company Bosasa has been making headlines ever since former bigwig Angelo Agrizzi started testifying at the state capture inquiry.

The former Bosasa COO has been exposing government officials who have apparently received bribes from the company for years.

Read: Motsoeneng admits to accepting more than R1m from Bosasa

But how far back does the Bosasa story go? Investigative journalist Thanduxolo Jika and legal journalist Karyn Maughn connect the dots.

The history of Bosasa

Bosasa boss Gavin Watson and his three brothers - Daniel aka "Cheeky", Valence and Ronnie - were born on a farm in the Eastern Cape.

The Xhosa-speaking siblings rose to fame in the late 1980s for their anti-apartheid activism and their role in the struggle for freedom.

The four Watson brothers drew the attention of political leaders and security police for their liberal political stance, forging connections with many ANC affiliates.

The Bosasa empire is estimated at anything more than R6 billion.

Karyn Maughn, legal journalist and Tiso Blackstar specialist reporter

They put themselves on the map in a public way through defying segregation around sport.

Karyn Maughn, legal journalist and Tiso Blackstar specialist reporter

Also read: Sanef welcomes investigation of journalists on Bosasa's payroll

Bosasa was once known as Dyambu Holdings and the initial directors of the company included prominent ANC members such as Baleka Mbete and Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The Watsons later took over the company that later became Bosasa. It won the first key tender to run the Lindela deportation centre in Johannesburg in 1996 with the help of former prisons boss Linda Mti.

Present day testimony

Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, ANC MP Vincent Smith, Tom Moyane, Nomgcobo Jiba, Lawrence Mrwebi, Vincent Magagula and Winnie Ngwenya are some of the high-ranking government officials implicated in Agrizzi testimony so far.

Read more: 'Knowing what we know about Bosasa, we deserve some answers from Ramaphosa'

Jika and Maughn agree that all those implicated in receiving bribes from the scandal-plagued government contractor should be called to account.

We need to press people like Baleka Mbete.

Karyn Maughn, legal journalist and Tiso Blackstar specialist reporter

We hope that those that are implicated would come forward to deny allegation or subject themselves to cross-examinations.

Thanduxolo Jika, investigations editor at the Mail & Guardian

Jika adds that the quality of Agrizzi's evidence needs to be tested because he is not a neutral whistleblower.

When you're dealing with somebody who says they are a whistleblower, you still need to understand which angles they are coming from.

Thanduxolo Jika, investigations editor at the Mail & Guardian

Angelo Agrizzi has basically given us a 101 on how to rig a tender.

Karyn Maughn, legal journalist and Tiso Blackstar specialist reporter

Listen to the full break-down on The Eusebius McKaiser Show:


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