Family and friends gathered at the Feather Market Hall in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday for the funeral of Bosasa boss Gavin Watson. Picture: Raahil Sain/ANA

Port Elizabeth - Former president Jacob Zuma has called Gavin Watson a real comrade.

Speaking at the funeral of the former Bosasa CEO at the Feather Market Centre in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, Zuma said Watson was "a soldier of our struggle, who understood the need to build SA to be a better country that takes care of its citizens. A real democrat, a revolutionary in practice and not just in theory." 

Watson, 73, died in a car crash at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg last Monday morning. He was driving in the airport precinct in a white Toyota Corolla registered under Bosasa in the early hours of the morning when he allegedly lost control of the car and collided with a concrete pillar holding up a highway bridge. 

Watson, who was alone in the car, was certified dead on the scene and a case of culpable homicide has been opened. His death has raised many questions.

At the funeral, Zuma said he hoped that Watson had not been "cleverly removed from the scene like others who had died mysteriously especially during the Apartheid era". 

Zuma, who arrived at the funeral to ululation, said Watson was preparing to go to the Zondo commission (of inquiry into State Capture) to respond to a number of allegations made against him so that he could clear his name.

"Perhaps those in the company will also have an opportunity to do so. We are living in a strange era where those who fought for freedom and were vilified by the Apartheid system are now seen as the worst people in the country. The media narrative is deliberately shaped to undermine our freedom," Zuma said.

"Some of the comrades who have been taken away are those who are very close to me in terms of work and understanding in terms of where we come from and where we are going."

Zuma warned that South Africa was strategically placed geographically, politically, economically and globally and outside interests were a threat to the country.

"They are always looking at people who need to be removed and I hope we are not dealing with that case here.

"The Watson family has been under the spotlight of our enemies for many years and it has not stopped.

"Somehow we got to the stage where the (Zondo) commission was further used to deal with this family. I hope sincerely there will be explanations of many things." 

Zuma said the ANC was riddled with class interests. "It has now emerged that once a comrade who was willing to die with you, today that comrade is willing to kill you for personal interests. 

"Gavin was a different kind of a person. We still need to wake up and the ANC has to work hard to ensure that this country does not disintegrate into something else because of how important it is globally. This Watson family has suffered because if its political clarity and commitment to freedom in this country.

"I wish we can learn from him that we need to address our ills differently. If we don't, we all will die one by one, especially those who are known to be problematic. (This can happen in different ways) A heart attack, I know it can be induced. I have been poisoned himself. I am not talking about something I don't know."

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