‘I'M A SURVIVOR'
YOU South Africa|9 December 2021
Whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi talks about the Bosasa ‘cult’ and why he doesn’t see himself as a crook or a hero
JANA VAN DER MERWE
AS WE enter his elegant double-story home, he comes shuffling towards us clutching a walking frame and with an oxygen tube in his nostrils.

It’s hard to believe this is the Angelo Agrizzi whose testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture dominated headlines for weeks in 2019.

Angelo (54) fingered several high-profile politicians, causing shockwaves in political and legal circles. Bosasa, the government services company based in Krugersdorp, Mogale City, Gauteng, where he’d served as chief operating officer, had dished out bribes to public servants to secure lucrative government tenders, he told commission head Raymond Zondo.

Then Angelo was a larger-than-life figure but today he seems somewhat frail when we meet him at his home in Dainfern, Johannesburg. Please don’t take pictures of my walker, he asks YOU. Nor of his swollen feet, he adds as he settles into a couch.

In front of him are copies of his book, Inside the Belly of the Beast, as well as the recent sequel, Surviving the Beast.

He wishes his critics would read his books so they’ll understand what he’s been through, Angelo says.

He feels aggrieved that many see him as a crook while he was the one who blew the whistle on corrupt politicians and state capture. Angelo feels there’s no support for whistleblowers in SA.

His critics stress that he benefited from the corruption at Bosasa and only chose to speak out to save himself.

Angelo was Bosasa boss Gavin Watson’s right-hand man for 17 years and witness to everything: the dodgy dealings that went into landing tenders, including four worth around R1,4 billion from the department of correctional services (DCS).

It was a web of lies, fraud and corruption, he says, adding that he became so entangled in it all that he could no longer tell right from wrong.

“Bosasa was a cult,” he says bluntly. “Gavin would make it sound as if it’s okay to do all these things. And you actually started believing it. You’d say, ‘But, Gavin, it’s bribery’.”

Then his boss would insist it wasn’t, saying it was just helping a friend, Angelo says. “He’d even quote from Proverbs in the Bible [to justify it].

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