Revelations that whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi’s silence could not be bought and the amount of dirt he was still likely to reveal on more people has heightened his safety concerns, with experts saying his life is more in danger than before.
Weekend reports have revealed how Agrizzi, former chief operating officer at Bosasa, turned down his former boss Gavin Watson’s multimillion-rand offer for his silence.
Agrizzi has told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that Bosasa, now African Global Group, paid millions of rands in bribes to secure various contracts.
Experts said the damaging nature of Agrizzi’s testimony had done reputational damage not only to the named officials and politicians but also to the ruling party ahead of the elections.
Paul Hoffman, Accountability Now director, said Agrizzi was under siege, which was why he had bodyguards and was staying in a safe house.
“He is pursued from all angles. Everyone wants him dead.
“Many people did not even realise they were being bought,” said Hoffman.
He said reports that Agrizzi was planning to go on holiday in Italy on completing his testimony at the commission were worrying.
“Considering how many people have it in for him, he might not return from Italy,” said Hoffman.
Political analyst Daniel Silke shared Hoffman’s sentiments, saying Agrizzi was testifying at great personal risk to himself and his family.
He said it would be disastrous for the commission and the public if Agrizzi or any person testifying at the commission were harmed.
“People are putting their lives at risk and they will have to be afforded additional protection to be comfortable and so others who are yet to appear do not feel intimidated.
“It would be disastrous for South Africa if anybody giving evidence were harmed in any way,” said Silke.
Sipho Mabena / The Citizen