For the first time since the Steinhoff scandal erupted in early December, a friend of Markus Jooste has answered questions about his relationship with the former Steinhoff CEO, who resigned under a cloud.
Rian du Plessis, CEO of Phumelela, explained to Netwerk 24 why he was appointed as a representative of Jooste’s family trust.
On Tuesday Netwerk 24 reported on the application made to the Cape High Court by the Mayfair Investment companies to have the arrangements with their creditors formalised and made orders of the court.
In court papers, Mayfair Speculators was described as a company involved in throughbred breeding and racing, with direct and part ownership of approximately 400 horses.The company also has an interest in the French based Mayfair Speculators STET, which owns 100 horses.
The schedules for the creditors meeting held at the end of March, which were handed in as addendums to the court papers, show that Du Plessis represented various interests
- The Silver Oaks Trust, who has a subordinate claim of R108,7 million against Mayfair Holdings;
- Pavilion Capital Investments Limited, who has a subordinate claim of R420 million against Mayfair Holdings and
- Formal Holdings, who has a subordinate claim of R867,5 million against Mayfair Speculators
Du Plessis, who is overseas, replied by email:
“Markus Jooste and I met in January 1979 as students at the University Of Stellenbosch. Our families have become close and personal friends.”
According to Du Plessis, Jooste had asked him to become a trustee of the Silver Oaks Trust.
Du Plessis said the trust had been established as a vehicle for the benefit of the Jooste family.
He was appointed as a trustee in February 2018.
He explained that the trust is the sole shareholder in Mayfair Holdings, who in turn was sole shareholder in Mayfair Speculators.
Du Plessis said that the Mayfair companies had proposed a scheme of arrangement in terms of section 155 of the Compnies Act to their creditors in order to allow them sufficient time to dispose of their assets – including horses in training – in an orderly manner, so as to ensure that all creditors are paid in full.
“In my opinion, and in particular regard to the orderly disposal of the horses, this is the best outcome for all stakeholders in the South African racing industry, as well as for the animals themselves.”
Phumelela Gaming & Leisure is a listed company licenced to conduct racing and betting in seven of our nine provinces.
Jooste was a director from December 2005 to December 2017. After he resigned from Steinhoff, he also resigned as a director of other entities, including the Mayfair companies.
From 2006, Jooste held 1,8% or 1,3 million shares in Phumelela and increased his interest to 4,6% or 4,7 million shares, which he held indirectly, apparently through Kalamojo Trading & Investments.
Kalamojo, a company who is owned by Jooste and Bernard Kantor, managing director of Investec, owned 9,4 million Phumelela shares (9,3%) at end March.
Du Plessis denied that Jooste is a shareholder in Phumelela.
He did not react to follow-up questions to clarify if he meant that Jooste is not a direct shareholder.
Pavilion, one the other companies represented by Du Plessis at the meeting with creditors, indicates a contact person in the agreement as Malcolm King.
King’s name has cropped up in reports over the past few months as a business associate of Jooste, but he cannot be traced.
Du Plessis said: “I met Malcolm King in 1999. We became personal friends in the 17 years that my family and I lived overseas.”
According to him, King is a director of Pavilion Capital Investments and Formal Holdings.
King is a British citizen.
“He could not attend the meeting and nominated me to vote on behalf of Formal and Pavilion in favour of the proposed scheme of agreement.”
- Thanks to Netwerk 24