3 February 2007

Widows And Orphans

When David Gleason was unfortunately fired a couple of years ago from the Business Day for supposedly putting too much politics into his copy, a young spiky-haired white kid was hired to take his place. This is Rob Rose, who has now come up with two huge financial scandal stories within a matter of days. One was the Macozoma – Liberty scandal, where the Liberty company had sold part of its business to Saki Macozoma and his friends, left them to enjoy the fruits of it for four years, and then bought it back for R297 million more than they sold it in the first place. The big shareholders forced this deal through over the objections of the minorities.

The story that Rose broke on Friday is even worse. It involves another “asset management” firm. This one is called Fidentia and it has just been put into curatorship by a court of law. These people were taking the clients’ investments and using them to buy, for example, a football team (Manning Rangers).

Most of the money (nearly R1.5 billion) Fidentia was in charge of came from the Living Hands Umbrella Trust, which was set up by the Mineworkers Provident Fund to pay money to families of people killed in mining accidents. That is to say, to the dead miners’ widows and orphans.

National Union of Mineworkers General Secretary Frans Baleni
wrote last November in the Mail and Guardian that: “Between 1984 and 2005, more than 11,100 miners died underground in South Africa. While the overall number of deaths has been on a generally declining trend over the past two decades, the number of miners killed below ground has exceeded 200 each year since 2000.”

“If this is not a crime, then what is?”, Baleni asked.

Now it is a double crime. Money given in compensation for the awful slaughter on the mines has been stolen by crooks. The assets will have to be sold. Read the story in the two linked articles below.

SA Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad has availed himself of the letters columns of the Business Day to hit back at
Karima Brown’s article of 30th January. He does a good job of defending his department but he does not say anything about the other source of foreign policy action in South Africa, which is the President’s office.

Click on these links:

Millions missing at Fidentia, Rob Rose, Business Day (497 words)

Buying spree masked Fidentia woes, Rob Rose, Business Day (720 words)

SA is no US proxy, Aziz Pahad, letter,Business Day (381 words)


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