Brian Sokutu
Senior Print Journalist
2 minute read
30 Jan 2019
6:10 am

‘Offensive’ racist Agrizzi’s evidence stands at Zondo commission

Brian Sokutu

Agrizzi said the two people he was referring to using the k-word were Bosasa chair Joe Gumede and director Papa Leshabane.

Angelo Agrizzi, the former operations head of the security firm once known as Bosasa, has given damning testimony about the bribes the company paid to South African ministers, elected officials and high-ranking officials of the ruling ANC party. AFP/File/WIKUS DE WET

An audio recording in which Bosasa former chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi was repeatedly heard using the k-word in referring to blacks was “extremely offensive” and “totally unacceptable”, but would not deter Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo from examining his evidence thoroughly.

Zondo yesterday told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that the racial slur used by Agrizzi did not mean he would not examine his evidence and make a ruling on it.

The embarrassing incident occurred last August at Agrizzi’s Fourways home during a conversation with Bosasa chief executive officer Gavin Watson’s children, Roth and Lindsay, which was recorded and later widely distributed on social media.

“Bloody k*****s, they steal, loot and destroy. I clean kitchens and toilets. I will go back to that company and beat each one of those k*****s,” is what Agrizzi said in the recording.

Asked by evidence leader Paul Pretorius whether his evidence was motivated by racism and could be regarded as being credible, Agrizzi responded: “My evidence should be judged on facts and make it more accessible for whistle-blowers to come out. I made a mistake and due to this, my family has suffered. I am paying the price for it.

“I am embarrassed, ashamed and agree that I am a racist.”

Agrizzi said the two people he was referring to using the k-word were Bosasa chair Joe Gumede and director Papa Leshabane. “When people threaten you, you do stupid things.”

Pretorius said the commission’s legal team placed on record that the Agrizzi tape was “nakedly racist and grossly offensive”.

Despite knowing that he was being recorded by the Watsons, Agrizzi said he was not aware that he was being “entrapped”.

Asked by Zondo whether people were allowed to be racists in the privacy of their own homes, Agrizzi said “there is no excuse”.

“At no stage did I give anyone consent or permission to unlawfully and intentionally record my conversation. I was unaware that the Watson children had planned to entrap me in a heated discussion.

“The racial slur, which I deeply regret, occurred while sitting in the lounge discussing a video that was sent to me by Gavin Watson about Dr Manning, an African American preacher that condemns the actions of black people.”

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