Rid­dle of the com­pany owner who died a pau­per

Man’ s sis­ter in court to find out what hap­pened to the de­ceased shares

Sunday World - - Sunday Report - By Aubrey Mothombeni moth­ombe­[email protected]­day­world.co.za

“Madiehe died a pau­per, leav­ing his fam­ily in poverty though he was the ma­jor­ity share­holder

The fam­ily of the de­ceased driver of a multi-mil­lion sta­tionery and of­fice sup­ply com­pany in North West has taken a white­owned com­pany to court over claims that it used their rel­a­tive to front for gov­ern­ment ten­ders while he died a pau­per.

In ad­di­tion, the fam­ily of the de­ceased driver, Si­mon Joseph Madiehe, is fac­ing evic­tion af­ter his part­ner in the com­pany, Peter Zacharias Ober­holzer, threat­ened to evict his wife and kids from the house they lived in.

It is al­leged that the house was “given” to the fam­ily by Ober­holzer, who was also Madiehe’s boss, and who was meant to trans­fer the prop­erty into his driver’s name but never did.

Ac­cord­ing to the pa­pers, the threat to evict the fam­ily came af­ter they re­fused to hand over Madiehe’s death cer­tifi­cate to Ober­holzer af­ter his death.

The fam­ily claims that the man’s 51% shares in Planet Sta­tionery and an­other com­pany, Mil­len­nium Traders and Elec­tri­cal Fit­ters, were al­legedly sold to Ober­holzer in a sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tion a week be­fore Madiehe’s death.

As if that were not enough, the man’s younger sis­ter, El­iz­a­beth Let­soako Ma­panzela, claims Ober­holzer de­manded a re­fund of the R15 000 he paid to­wards the fu­neral of the man.

The pay­ment was made be­cause the fam­ily, de­spite legally be­ing ben­e­fi­cia­ries of a lu­cra­tive com­pany, could not af­ford to bury him.

These de­tails are con­tained in an af­fi­davit filed at the high court in Mahikeng by Ma­panzela, who was ap­pointed ex­ecu­tor of Madiehe’s es­tate.

Ma­panzela de­tails in her court pa­pers how her brother was al­legedly used as a front to help his white boss score lu­cra­tive ten­ders from the North West pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

She said while the com­pany had an an­nual turnover ofR10m-R50m, Madiehe died a pau­per, leav­ing his fam­ily in poverty though he was the ma­jor­ity share­holder.

In her pa­pers, Ma­panzela re­quested the court to is­sue an or­der to set aside and/or can­cel an agree­ment al­legedly signed by Madiehe, sell­ing his 51% stake to Ober­holzer in ex­change for a R500 000 house, R100 000 cash and a bakkie in De­cem­ber last year, a few weeks be­fore he died.

Among her pa­pers was a court or­der di­rect­ing Ober­holzer and Planet Sta­tionery to pro­vide her ac­cess to the mem­o­ran­dum of in­cor­po­ra­tions of the two com­pa­nies in which Madiehe was a di­rec­tor.

She has also re­quested the com­pa­nies’ an­nual fi­nan­cial state­ments, an­nual gen­eral meet­ings re­ports, no­tices and min­utes of all share­hold­ers meet­ings, as well as min­utes of all other meet­ings for a pe­riod of seven years.

Fur­ther to the de­mands are an or­der com­pelling Ober­holzer and his com­pa­nies to pro­vide her with the share cer­tifi­cates of her late brother, a copy of the share­hold­ers’ agree­ment, and copies of fi­nan­cial records, in­clud­ing bank state­ments start­ing from the date on which Madiehe be­came a share­holder of the two com­pa­nies.

She has also de­manded that the com­pa­nies must pro­vide her with a list of all sup­ply con­tracts that the com­pa­nies se­cured with gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions or state-owned en­ter­prises.

Ac­cord­ing to the court pa­pers, Madiehe, who died in Au­gust, was em­ployed as a driver by the sta­tionery firm from 1999 to De­cem­ber last year.

“The de­ceased stopped work­ing for the first re­spon­dent dur­ing De­cem­ber 2017 af­ter he had a dis­pute with the sec­ond re­spon­dent re­gard­ing pay­ment of div­i­dends for his shares.

“He had just found out that he was a share­holder in the first and sec­ond re­spon­dents. The de­ceased died a pau­per. The Madiehe fam­ily, me in­cluded, strug­gled to make ends meet in or­der to give him a dig­ni­fied proper burial,” reads the sis­ter’s af­fi­davit.

She said it was Ober­holzer’s des­per­a­tion to get his hands on Madiehe’s death cer­tifi­cate that made her sus­pi­cious of him and his in­ten­tions.

Ma­panzela said at the time of Ober­holzer’s re­quest, she al­ready knew that Madiehe was a 51% share­holder in his com­pa­nies and had con­firmed the in­for­ma­tion with the Na­tional Trea­sury sup­plier database for gov­ern­ment.

“I then con­fronted the third re­spon­dent and he agreed that the de­ceased was a 51% share­holder in the first and sec­ond re­spon­dents. The third re­spon­dent then in­formed me that even though the de­ceased was a share­holder, he dis­posed his shares in the first and sec­ond re­spon­dent be­fore he died. When I asked for any writ­ten proof that the de­ceased had dis­posed his shares, the third re­spon­dent re­fused to pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion,” said Ma­panzela in her af­fi­davit.

She said fol­low­ing Ober­holzer’s re­fusal to pro­vide proof to sup­port his claims, she con­tacted lawyers for help.

The pa­pers show Ober­holzer, through his lawyers Pi­eter Schoe­man At­tor­neys, still re­fused to co-op­er­ate with her re­quest for in­for­ma­tion and stuck to the story that Madiehe had sold his shares.

She said they pro­duced an agree­ment, pur­ported to have been signed by Madiehe, stat­ing that he had sold his shares to Ober­holzer in ex­change for a house, car and R100 000.

The pa­pers show that Ma­panzela ar­gued the agree­ment could not be ad­mit­ted as a valid doc­u­ment be­cause the house in Ik­a­geng, Potchef­stroom, was cur­rently reg­is­tered in the name Ober­holzer.

She said the bakkie also be­longed to the sta­tionery com­pany and was taken away af­ter her brother died.

She also ar­gued that Ober­holzer had used Madiehe as a front to se­cure lu­cra­tive gov­ern­ment sup­ply con­tracts and that her brother never re­ceived any div­i­dends for his share­hold­ing in the com­pany, not­ing that Ober­holzer was now threat­en­ing to sell the house.

In his re­spond­ing af­fi­davit, Ober­holzer said Ma­panzela’s state­ments were “spec­u­la­tive... scan­dalous, vex­a­tious, ir­rel­e­vant and hearsay”.

Ober­holzer con­firmed that Madiehe was a share­holder in his com­pany but said the agree­ment signed be­tween them was valid.

Re­spond­ing to al­le­ga­tions about the dis­pute over div­i­dends and monies owed to Madiehe, Ober­holzer claimed that his former driver had a drink­ing and gam­bling prob­lem and that it was pos­si­ble he had lost his money through these ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ober­holzer said he was not aware that his busi­ness part­ner died a pau­per, but em­pha­sised that he had noted from his bank state­ments that shortly af­ter pay­ments were made to his ac­counts, he with­drew a sub­stan­tial amount.

“I can only sur­mise that the de­ceased used those funds to ei­ther gam­ble or to drink,” he said.

/ Ka­belo Mokoena

El­iz­a­beth Ma­panzela the sis­ter of the de­ceased, Si­mon Madiehe, insert, in­side the house of their brother in Potchef­stroom.

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