IN THE MID-NINETIES a dour-looking Nelson Mandela – then President of the country – rounded up the party faithful in a private conclave at his Johannesburg home to reveal some bad news. The ANC’s operating costs had run off the cliff, Mandela told the gathering, and nothing short of a Lotto jackpot would salvage the wreck.
Word of the party’s financial mess must have spread quickly – and stretched the jackpot metaphor to a literal interpretation – when a group of wisecrackers, allegedly including businessman Hassen Adams of Cape Town, bolted to party headquarters with a soporific brainwave: If the party endorsed SA’s most prestigious horserace (the President’s Cup) the ANC could rake in “a substantial amount of money” auctioning the sperm of Thoroughbred racehorses “at R20 000 per shot”. Jokes aside, it’s true...
We’ll probably never know whether then ANC treasurer Makhenkesi Stofile bought the idea to breed the beasts. We can only hazard that Stofile must have adapted the concept of player and referee to a grander plan of punting (not the four-legged variety). Months later, Chancellor House Trust was born... and then Chancellor House Holdings.