Jared Watson: We haven't been given an opportunity to defend ourselves at Zondo commission_1


Jared Watson, the nephew of deceased Bosasa boss Gavin Watson, said the family was frustrated because the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture had not yet granted implicated persons permission to cross-examine certain witnesses.

He said "a number of parties" implicated in Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi's testimony had submitted statements to the commission as early as February this year.

Affidavits and applications to cross-examine Agrizzi were given to the commission, but "not one of those parties were, however, given that opportunity," Watson's nephew told News24.

"The commission merely passed along their affidavits to Agrizzi," he said.

Agrizzi dropped bombshells at the commission earlier this year, implicating government officials and Watson family members in state capture.

"Obviously, our feeling around the commission is that the rights of many were disregarded in not being afforded prior notification that Agrizzi would be attempting to implicate people at the commission, and the commission didn't follow their own rules in that regard.

"Because of this, the implicated parties weren't given the opportunity to defend themselves, while their reputations were being destroyed," Watson said.

He added that he would not be submitting any evidence to the commission because no action is taken.

"What would be the value in submitting an affidavit to the commission if the commission's only intention is to forward that affidavit to Agrizzi and not allow you to appear at the commission, nor cross-examine Agrizzi?"

But Agrizzi's lawyer, advocate Daniel Wits, told News24, that no one from the family had submitted anything to the commission.

"Not a single family member has sent an affidavit. The commission has confirmed this because I asked them myself," Wits said.

"The only one who I can imagine they are connected with is Kevin Wakeford (CEO of Armaments Corporation of South Africa). The reason I say that is because on Wednesday he was granted right to cross-examine Mr Agrizzi."

He said that according to Agrizzi: "Jared Watson was sitting there in the background when Kevin was there."

He added: "I've even received an email from the commission last week saying they've received nothing – no documents, no affidavits, nothing."

This week, Wakeford was granted permission to cross-examine Agrizzi.

Wakeford was among those who allegedly benefited from Bosasa, Agrizzi said in his testimony.

Wits said some government officials had also applied to cross-examine Agrizzi.

The commission's acting secretary, KB Shabalala, said the commission was still looking into matters concerning the applications.

"There may be some applications for leave to cross-examine that were delivered to the commission early this year, which may not yet have been disposed of, but that will be because the commission is still investigating certain issues arising from or connected with either those applications, or with witnesses' responses to those applications.

"This is because, generally speaking, when the commission has received an application by an implicated person for leave to cross-examine a witness, it provides a copy of that application to the witness and asks the witness to respond or comment.

"If the witness delivers an affidavit in response, a copy of that affidavit gets sent to the implicated person to consider and, if necessary, deliver a replying affidavit, whereafter the papers are studied to determine what issues, if any, require further investigation before the application may be argued before the chairperson and decided by him," Shabalala told News24.

She added that the commission aimed to, as far as possible, ensure fairness for all parties concerned.

Relations have become strained between the Watson family and Agrizzi since his testimony at the commission.

After Watson died in a car crash on the R21 outside OR Tambo International Airport in August, Jared Watson essentially accused Agrizzi of being involved in Watson's "murder", according to News24.

News24 previously reported that Agrizzi had since asked the Sowetan newspaper to retract the story and issue an apology.

For more news your way, download The Citizen's app for iOS and Android.