Dyambu Operations (which would become Bosasa) did not only have powerful politicians on its side. It also cultivated relationships with union bosses, realising that they too could help to unlock a few treasure chests. When Angelo Agrizzi was appointed as Gavin Watson's right-hand man at Dyambu in 1999, the company "was paying off trade union members and National Union of Mineworkers regional officials", he says. "This was done to ensure the support of the particular unions to obtain agreements at various mine hostels."

The company's handling of a Sasol catering tender in 1999 illustrated its modus operandi: connections and the clever use of some sharp elbows allowed Dyambu to prevail despite an initially substandard bid.

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