Let's get to bottom of Gavin Watson crash

We must caution against people spreading baseless rumours about who may have "killed" Gavin Watson or the "motives" for the crash, the writer says.
We must caution against people spreading baseless rumours about who may have "killed" Gavin Watson or the "motives" for the crash, the writer says.

The appointment of accident reconstruction expert Konrad Lotter to investigate the crash that took the life of Gavin Watson, controversial CEO of the equally controversial company African Global Operations, would hopefully, in the long run, result in certainty over what caused the accident.

There is too much speculation, some of it really dangerous, going on about what may have killed the boss of a company that was previously known as Bosasa.

His death came at a time when he was at the centre of allegations that, for years, his company bought favours with ANC and government leaders which resulted in Bosasa benefitting handsomely from state contracts and in industries that are regulated by the state.

There were claims, made by his one-time close associate and former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi, that former president Jacob Zuma's associates and ministers benefitted directly from this alleged corruption.

Furthermore, Watson's donation of R500,000 into CR17 - the campaign that propelled Cyril Ramaphosa into the presidency - caused public protector Busi Mkhwebane to start a probe into the president and what he knew about the sources of the funding.

It is therefore not surprising that, in the absence of answers to how the crash happened, people would speculate.

But we must caution against people spreading baseless rumours about who may have "killed" him or the "motives" for the crash.

Lest we forget, South Africa was in a similar space in 2005 when ANC benefactor and troubled businessman Brett Kebble was killed in a shooting.

Back then the immediate suspicion fell on political players, with factions within the ruling party pointing fingers at each other. As it later transpired, none of them were involved and the reasons for Kebble's "assisted suicide" hardly had anything to do with them.

We do not know the full facts of the Watson incident. But what we know is that tensions are high in the country currently and that, under such an environment, making wild claims about who may have "killed" him and why they may have done so, is tantamount to shouting "fire!" in a crowded theatre.

It can only have disastrous results.

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