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Gavin Watson would often drive without his seatbelt: nephew

Bosasa chief executive officer Gavin Watson died in a car crash on Monday morning.
Bosasa chief executive officer Gavin Watson died in a car crash on Monday morning.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

It was not out of the ordinary for Gavin Watson, who died when he crashed his company car into a bridge pillar outside OR Tambo international airport, to not wear a seatbelt while driving.

"The sad reality is that he would often drive like that," his nephew, Jared Watson, told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE.

Watson, who controlled African Global Operations, formally Bosasa, died around 5am on Monday.

Watson said that his uncle did not like wearing seatbelts and disliked the beeping sound made by the vehicle's warning system.

"He would clip the seatbelt buckle in place [behind his back] to the make the beeping sound stop," he said.

He said the family was still without answers as to what Watson was doing at the airport so early that morning.

"All we can do at the moment is speculate. We know he often had meetings with people who were travelling from the airport. He would hold a meeting there, basically, if someone was flying out.

"Bosasa staff working at the airport would also meet between 5am and 6am. They would sing a song and pray. Maybe he [Gavin] was awake and thought that he should go through and participate."

Watson said there were so many unanswered questions the family had been left with.

"We were hoping that his cellphone, which we know he had with him, would provide the answers - but we could not find it."

Watson said that although they did not know if the iPhone was on, they had been able to track it for a short while through the help of a private company.

"We know, through triangulation and cellphone signal towers, that after the accident the phone moved to Germiston. Later that evening it moved to Bryanston and, in particular, to an area around Bryanston Drive. But in the end we could not locate it."

Asked who could have had the phone, Watson said he did not know of a beggar who would move from Germiston through to Bryanston - "especially that quickly".

"In Germiston it was tracked to an area. The same in Bryanston.

"The signal was repeating within a 30m to 50m radius, but within an area this big, which is at least 100m wide, there are a lot of houses and buildings. We just could not track it to an exact spot."

He said the phone was no longer repeating off cellphone towers.

"Gavin did not have the Find My Phone app. We are now no longer able to track it at all. Given the limited resources we have in being able to track the phone we are leaving it to the police and are hoping and praying that they can do more," he said.