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'Gavin Watson was betrayed' Eastern Cape Premier Mabuyane

Sep 4, 2019
'Gavin Watson was betrayed' Eastern Cape Premier Mabuyane

Port Elizabeth - Speaking at the funeral of former Bosasa (now African Global Operations) Gavin Watson, Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, said that Watson's only fault was allowing 'wolves in sheep's clothing' to get close to him, consequently they revealed their true colours.

The funeral was held at the Feather Market Center in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Watson was killed in an accident near the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

"Let me extend revolutionary greetings on behalf of the ANC PEC to the Watson Family, relatives, friends, and to everyone who is gathered here today to pay their last respects to comrade Gavin Watson," Mabuyane began.

"Firstly, let me once again pass our deepest heartfelt condolences to the Watson family on the tragic loss of comrade Gavin Watson. Comrade Gavin was a son, brother, father and a cde, we feel your heartache."

Maabuyane said that Gavin was a nation builder and a humanitarian par excellence.

"It is sad that in a week we lay him to rest, our nation is reeling from the shocking murders of-thumbed young women, amongst them, Lieghandre Jegels and Uyinene Mrwetyana who have become the latest victims of femicide in our country," the Premier said.

"Knowing Comrade Gavin, he would be condemning these acts with the contempt they deserve and we want to pass our condolences to the families of the two girls.

"But more than that comrade Gavin would like us men to stand up against the few men who perpetuate violence against women in our society. This is a task we must pursue in his name."

Mabuyane said that when the news of comrade Gavin’s passing broke out, it shocked many South Africans.

"Personally, I was hurt more by the behaviour of some of the South African media houses on the morning of Gavin’s passing as they started to feed our nation a narrative of speculations about what led to Gavin’s passing, completely ignoring that a human being, a loved one, a family men had just passed on and that many of his family members are not even aware of what had just happened?

"I want to remind them that the rights that they enjoy which at times they use to trample on other people’s rights were fought for and won through the selfless contributions of Gavin Watson and his family," Mabuyane added.

"Comrades and friends, I think it is proper that I let everyone who is in attendance here today know that we are here today unashamedly as the ANC leadership and ANC members to bid farewell to our fellow comrade whose blood was black, green and gold when it was not fashionable to do so.

"The Watson family blessed us with a generation of comrades who understood clearly as explained by Chief Albert Luthuli that: 'it is inevitable that in working for Freedom some individuals and some families must take the lead and suffer…that the Road to Freedom is via the CROSS.'"

'The Watson family suffered under aparthied'

Mabuyane told the gathering that the Watson family suffered a lot under apartheid and were constantly harassed by the regime for their belief that South Africa belongs to all who live in black and white and that no race should be dominant over the other.

"When we count families that were at the forefront of our struggle and who suffered immensely we must not omit the Watson family. It would be disingenuous to do so.

"In the ANC, we are taught never to forsake each other as comrades, particularly when one of us is facing difficult challenges. Seemingly, the post-apartheid era has consumed us so much that we forget this important principle that should bind us," he said.

"We tend to dance and rejoice at the troubles of other comrades and in doing that we play directly at the hands of our political opponents.

"I can’t find any reason other than the fact that Gavin and his family have remained true and loyal servants of the ANC. By implication they have remained true to their convictions that South Africa must remain democratic, must be truly non-racial, and must be non-sexist and prosperous with equal opportunities for all citizens’ blacks and whites.

"And those who opposed his views during the struggle did not take kindly to his sustained revolutionary stance."

Mabuyane said that they forget that Gavin, like all ANC members, took an oath of membership and declared: 'I will place my energies and skills at the disposal of the Organisation and carry out tasks given to me, that I will work towards making the ANC an even more effective instrument of liberation in the hands of the people and that I will defend the unity and integrity of the Organisation and its principles, and combat any tendency towards disruption and factionalism'

"He was there in the 1970s when the brutality of the apartheid regime was at its worst.

"The good work of nation building that the Watson family has done and is still doing is well documented particularly here in our province as their youth centres gave a second chance to many young people who were in conflict with the law," Mabuyane said.

"When society had washed its hands on our troubled young people, it was Comrade Gavin who stepped in to offer our young people reasons to live. Who will do that work now, so the question lingers as every effort is being made to delegitimise the good work he has done. Who will continue bring his motto to life which says: 'A life transformed for the better, is a life enriched for the future. A life transformed for the better is a life enriched for the future.'"

'Gavin Watson fought for transformation in sports'

Mabuyane said that his tribute to Watson would not be complete without mentioning his role in fighting for transformation in Sport.

"In 1961, when leaders of the African National Congress established uMkhonto weSizwe to fight the brutal regime of apartheid, many young brave cadres raised their hands and wanted to join the ranks of MK.

"The leadership soon realised that it should however direct other young cadres in different strata of our society, hence we had freedom fighters in Sports, in Churches, in Education Institutions and in the Performing Arts," he described.

"Comrade Gavin and his family were a thorn in the flesh of the apartheid regime particularly for their role in calling for the transformation of rugby. His family refused to don or support a jersey that represented the oppression of black people.

"His name will be etched in the annals of history alongside other sports activists such as Yusuf Lorgat, Khaya Majola, Rama Reddy, Sam Ramsamy, Dan Qeqe, Toto Tsotsobe, Percy Sonn, Danny Jordan and many more who sacrificed a lifetime for an equitable, non-racial sport dispensation in our country.

"Gavin leaves at a time we see a fairly demographically balanced Springbok team in the history of this country and for that we will forever be indebted to the role played by him, Valence, Ronnie and Cheeky in the liberation struggle. Our CEO, Gavin Watson, living his motto: 'A life transformed for the better is a life enriched for the future.'"

Gavin Watson's only fault

The Premier said that there is only one fault he found in Watson’s life, "and many of us have the same fault in our journey of life. Comrade Gavin allowed Wolves in Sheep clothing to get too close in his life.

"And we have seen how Wolves who came into comrade Gavin’s life pretending to be harmless revealed their true colours.

"It is a sad lesson for all of us to learn that in our quest to be a united, and non-racial nation, we must know who is truly on our side. Most of the time our true allies are those who never sold-out during the difficult times and not overnight democrats who use the convenience of our democratic victory to act as if they share the same beliefs and values with us.

"How I wish you would have left having put things into correct perspective in Judge Zondo Commission. Those who are still alive and who know the good work of Gavin have a duty to tell the Commission the correct perspective about Gavin’s life."

Quoting Timothy 4 verse 6, Mabuyane said Watson fought the good fight.

"Rest in Peace Gavin, may your activist revolutionary soul forever live amongst us as we continue to pursue our NDR fundamental goals of building a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist , democratic and prosperous South Africa."

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