PRETORIA - The ANC on Monday said it had "received with shock" news of the death of Gavin Watson, who died in a car accident at the OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park earlier in the day.
"Comrade Gavin Watson together with his brothers, Ronnie, Cheeky and Valence associated themselves with the struggle for liberation at an early age and fought side by side with many compatriots against apartheid.
"It was in his home province of the Eastern Cape, where Cde Gavin Watson made the admirable and brave choice of disassociating himself with the privilege that came with being a white male in apartheid South Africa and choosing to participate actively in pursuing the ideals of a free, democratic and non-racial South Africa," said ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe.
"The Watson brothers were well-known activists in the United Democratic Front (UDF) and within the African National Congress underground structures at the time. To a large extent, their role in the fight for non-racial sports, especially rugby, resulted in one of the most symbolic acts of opposition and discontent against discrimination in sport."
Mabe said Gavin Watson in particular also played a significant role in providing support, through the family businesses, to many activists and operatives of the uMkhonto weSizwe armed wing of the ANC, who were being pursued by the police and fleeing Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape province during the apartheid era.