Comrades raise ANC flag outside PE home of Gavin Watson
“We all have our shortcomings, but we choose not to focus on that because there is a better person in all of us.”
This was said by the ANC’s Nelson Mandela Bay regional task team head Nceba Faku as the party mounted the ANC flag at the Mill Park home of Gavin Watson on Monday.
The ANC regional leadership as well as members of the Eastern Cape provincial executive committee held a ceremony in Port Elizabeth to put up the flag and offer the family words of comfort.
Addressing Watson’s family and close friends, Faku said: “I’ve got my own mistakes and I’m not going to stand on top of the mountain, and Gavin will not stand on top of the mountain.
“There are always positives to any person and we are here today to recognise that.”
Watson, 71, died on Monday last week after the Toyota Corolla he was driving ploughed into a pillar under a bridge near the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Watson stood at the helm of Bosasa‚ later renamed African Global Operations‚ for nearly two decades‚ with the firm enjoying deeply entrenched connections to the ANC.
It was this proximity to the levers of power – amid allegations that Watson ran a vast bribery network which paid off key ANC officials‚ including former president Jacob Zuma – that saw Bosasa score billions in state contracts and tenders.
Standing at the gate with an ANC flag behind him, Faku told the Watson family not to listen to what was being said about the former businessman.
“Your family is one of the heroic families in Port Elizabeth,” he said.
“It’s one of the torch bearers of the fight against discrimination laws long before 1994.
“There is a programme in this country to pull us all down and one way to do that is to look at our shortcomings.”
Faku said the family had made the right decision to bury Watson in Port Elizabeth because he was better known in this area and those in Johannesburg “only know him later in life when he was beginning to succeed”.
“This is where he got his stars. The ANC, especially in Port Elizabeth, is behind you.
“Your family had a clothing shop where some of these people here used to go when they came from prison, detention, when they were chased [away] by white police to get clothing and money.
“Your family risked their lives to cross the borders to fetch resources, money and weapons for us at the time so we are not going to desert them,” Faku said.
Asked in an interview later what he was referring to when he said there was a programme to pull down members of the ANC, Faku did not clarify what he had meant.
He said: “Those who are affected by that programme will internalise it.
“That programme is including the media too and other programmes.”
PEC member Fikile Desi said it was the media’s role to call ANC comrades “terrorists”, but it was for members of the party to counter those claims.
Watson’s funeral will be held at the Feather Market Centre on Tuesday.