Watson, who died last week when the car he was travelling in hit a concrete pillar, was plunged into the spotlight at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, where Bosasa former chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi testified about his alleged underhanded modus operandi to win multibillion-rand government tenders.
According to Agrizzi’s testimony – backed by footage and audio material – Watson’s strategy was the use of large sums of money stashed in his vault to bribe influential government officials, politicians and those close to former president Jacob Zuma.
While constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos has described him as “pious on the outside but ruthless on the inside – with a Bible in one hand and bags of cash in the other” – forgotten at his burial will be his secrets, which he has taken to the grave on the eve of appearing before the inquiry into his tax compliance with the South African Revenue Service.
If last week’s memorial service, addressed by former minister Nomvula Mokonyane, is anything to go by, Watson is set to be remembered in Nelson Mandela Bay as “a hero” for his role in the anti-apartheid struggle and his generosity while at the helm of Bosasa.
Mokonyane, who delivered a moving eulogy at the memorial service, has been exposed by Agrizzi for having been a beneficiary of largesse: money, security upgrades at her home, hiring of cars for her daughter, expensive whiskies, brandies and meat.
Others to attend are correctional services former national commissioner Linda Mti, Nelson Mandela Bay MMC Andile Lungisa, veteran rugby player Archie Mkele, and Nelson Mandela Bay ANC regional chairperson Nceba Faku.
Watson’s send-off is likely to take the form of a political gathering, marked by freedom songs.
It is understood the Feather Market Hall, which can accommodate more than 1,000 people, will be the venue for the funeral, scheduled for 11am.