FORMER president Jacob Zuma said he was concerned at how Gavin Watson (71) died.

Speaking at the funeral, held at the Feather Market Centre in Port Elizabeth yesterday, Zuma said: “Let’s hope Watson was not among many comrades who are removed from the scene.

“I know he died at a time when he was preparing to go to the commission to clear his name.”

Zuma said there were many mysterious deaths.

“I hope this wasn’t the case with Watson. Some of the comrades who were taken were very close to me,” he said.

“We are not safe in our country. We need to feel safe and free in our country.”

Zuma said Watson was an extraordinary man from Port Elizabeth.

“It was a leading city in fighting against inequality. The Watson family is a big asset to the ANC. They were very helpful to the struggle,” he said.

“Farewell, comrade Watson. You left us too early.

“I always feel bad to say goodbye to people younger than me.”

The CEO of African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa, died when his car struck a concrete pillar outside OR Tambo Interntional Airport in Ekurhuleni last Monday.

Younger brother Valence told mourners: “We don’t question God’s plan or will.”

Family friend Archie Mkele said: “I was shocked when the Bosasa saga emerged and Watson was labelled a criminal and a thief.

“There was nothing wrong with him helping the ANC. All political parties have donors.”