Zondo commission: Threats to Agrizzi’s life continue

The COO-turned-whistleblower’s earlier testimony had to be kept under wraps because of a number of threats on his life in the lead-up to his appearance. (Dewlyn Verasamy/M&G)

The COO-turned-whistleblower’s earlier testimony had to be kept under wraps because of a number of threats on his life in the lead-up to his appearance. (Dewlyn Verasamy/M&G)

The threats on former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi’s life have continued unabated since his bombshell testimony in January, the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Thursday.

At the beginning of Agrizzi’s testimony on Thursday, evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius SC announced two recent threats on the witness’ life. Pretorius handed up a handwritten note, reportedly written in isiZulu, which was left on Agrizzi’s car windscreen.

According to Pretorius, the note — which was translated by the commission’s investigators — makes reference to Agrizzi’s mother and says: “We know what car you drive.”

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the commission’s chair, said the note “certainly is a threat”. According to Zondo, the note also reads: “Stop talking about state capture and only Bosasa.”

Pretorius mentioned another incident which reportedly occurred on Wednesday night.
He told the commission that the commission’s investigators received a phone call from a “very senior police officer”, who cautioned them of a threat to Agrizzi’s life.

Agrizzi’s security has been bulked up as a result, Pretorius said.

The former Bosasa COO told the commission that he has become used to the threats. “I have been very flippant about any threats … I take it in my stride now. It is going to happen ... I have been cautioned that perhaps I should take these more seriously,” he said.

LIVESTREAM: Agrizzi returns to the Zondo commission

The whistle-blower’s earlier testimony had to be kept under wraps because of a number of threats on his life in the lead-up to his appearance.

During the course of his nine-day testimony, Agrizzi implicated more than 38 people in allegations of fraud, corruption and money laundering at Bosasa. Among those implicated were politicians and other high-ranking government officials.

At the beginning of Agrizzi’s testimony on Thursday, Zondo also indicated his concerns about the events that followed Agrizzi’s first appearance. In February, Agrizzi was arrested by the Hawks in relation to a Special Investigating Unit probe into Bosasa’s lucrative contracts with the department of correctional services.

READ MORE: Bosasa arrests: Hawks act on decade-old SIU report

“I am very grateful that, despite everything, you are here to assist the commission,” Zondo said, adding that he has been assured that the arrests did not have to do with Agrizzi’s evidence to the commission.

Zondo said he hopes the arrest does not stop people from coming forward with information to the commission. He added that there are people who are against the commission. “I believe that those that actually support the commission will prevail,” Zondo said.

Agrizzi agreed, saying, “We have to do this for the next generation”.

The hearing continues.

Sarah Smit

Sarah Smit

Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law. Read more from Sarah Smit

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