Jooste’s horses will not run in the Met

12 Event will go ahead with­out protests – unions

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SOYISO MALITI

THE Na­tional Horserac­ing Au­thor­ity (NHA) board met to dis­cuss sev­eral is­sues per­tain­ing to the Sun Met, in­clud­ing busi­ness­man Markus Jooste’s in­volve­ment in the sec­tor, as unions planned to protest at the event.

Yes­ter­day’s meet­ing came af­ter three unions pressed the au­thor­ity on the for­mer Stein­hoff chief ex­ec­u­tive’s in­flu­ence in horse rac­ing in South Africa. The board an­nounced it had reached agree­ments with Cosatu and May­fair Spec­u­la­tors, a firm headed by Jooste.

Lyn­don Barends, NHA chief ex­ec­u­tive, made as­sur­ances that Jooste would not make a profit out of the race.

He said Cosatu had agreed to call off its march – which, the union warned, would shut down the event – af­ter May­fair with­drew their horses in the “na­tional in­ter­est”.

The Pub­lic Ser­vants As­so­ci­a­tion (PSA) and the Fed­er­a­tion of Unions of SA (Fe­dusa) held a press con­fer­ence on Thurs­day to di­vulge their find­ings on 2 000 pages of Stein­hoff ’s fi­nan­cial records.

Do­minic Storm, the char­tered ac­coun­tant who this week pored over the records, re­vealed there were tax ir­regu- lar­i­ties in sev­eral ju­ris­dic­tions where the com­pany trades.

Storm told Week­end Ar­gus a Ger­man investigation specif­i­cally re­lated to tax eva­sion was also un­der way.

“Ger­man reg­u­la­tors have specif­i­cally iden­ti­fied him as a per­son of in­ter­est in the case. Ac­cord­ing to our in­for­ma­tion, the case is still on.”

A state­ment from Stein­hoff In­ter­na­tional said the unions had not raised this is­sue with the com­pany this week.

Storm said: “What we’ve found on a pre­lim­i­nary ba­sis, par­tic­u­larly in the fi­nan­cial state­ments, is that Markus Jooste makes cer­tain as­ser­tions about the com­pany, its health and per­for­mance and its abil­ity to con­tinue in the fore­see­able future.”

He said he was star­tled by Jooste’s claims about the com­pany’s fi­nan­cial health af­ter view­ing the fi­nan­cial state­ments.

“We find it quite sig­nif­i­cant that he’s been mak­ing these as­ser­tions about the cor­rect­ness of in­for­ma­tion, which was also used by in­vestors to plough money in the com­pany.”

Storm said “from a cor­po­rate gov­er­nance per­spec­tive, a lot of self-in­ter­est ex­isted” in the books. He also looked at the tax af­fairs of Stein­hoff “and based them on Ger­man in­ves­ti­ga­tions into com­pa­nies owned by Stein­hoff ”.

“What we think we have found (is that) the rate at which they pay taxes is ‘man­aged’ to an ex­tent that they don’t pay more than 15% in tax (in SA). What we found prob­lem­atic with that is the ef­fec­tive cor­po­rate tax is 28% and in other ju­ris­dic­tions Stein­hoff oper­ates in it’s far above 15%. This didn’t make sense to us. So, what we did is, we cal­cu­lated the ef­fec­tive tax rate based on in­for­ma­tion dis­closed in the fi­nan­cial state­ments.”

PSA and Fe­dusa said they would “peace­fully” demon­strate against Jooste at the Sun Met. Jooste had ear­lier re­signed as di­rec­tor of May­fair Spec­u­la­tors, a com­pany used to con­duct his horse rac­ing in­ter­ests.

In De­cem­ber, the com­pany reached an agree­ment with Absa, one of its cred­i­tors. The deal re­port­edly in­cludes sell­ing all the horses.

Tahir Maepa, PSA gen­eral man­ager, said the or­gan­i­sa­tion would pur­sue Jooste re­lent­lessly. He said the as­so­ci­a­tion was try­ing to cur­tail Jooste’s prof­its in the Sun Met. “He was a mo­nop­oly. He owns hun­dreds of horses. We called on the Na­tional Horserac­ing Au­thor­ity to dis­as­so­ci­ate it­self from Jooste. This is a vic­tory for the coun­try. We say ‘no’ to peo­ple like Jooste who are blood­suck­ers of the work­ing class. Ul­ti­mately, he de­serves to be jailed.”

Barends said they had made sure Jooste would not make a profit out of the race, not even through horse clubs in which May­fair held stakes.

“We’re all af­fected. Any good pen­sion fund, like ours, would have had some money in­vested in the group. We do un­der­stand the view that the PSA has taken. While we’re dis­tanc­ing our­selves, we’ll al­ways pro­tect the in­ter­est of our work­ers with­out com­pro­mis­ing our prin­ci­ples.”

Markus Jooste

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.