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Tail Still Wagging This Hound?

Please, Mr Evans, time is money - and this ain't funny

A further delay in publishing a business rescue plan for the embattled Phumelela Gaming & Leisure Limited is adding to the uncertainty and speculation and is doing nobody any favours – least of all the sport itself.

A request by John Evans to further delay the publication of the much anticipated plan, from the extension granted to tomorrow, until Tuesday 18 August, might seem like a feather stroke in the bigger scheme of things, but leaves racing in the national picture, in limbo.

John Evans

And our National Yearling Sale commences on Friday, amid the smoke and mirrors.

Phumelela commenced business rescue proceedings on 8 May 2020, at which time the experienced John Evans was appointed as its business rescue practitioner.

While the company has continued to trade during business rescue, the uncertainty is not conducive to promoting support from many stakeholders who have had their fill of plain bad management over many years.

The non-KZN Racing entities announced a fortnight ago that the interim arrangement in respect of minor-race stakes for the Highveld, Western Cape and Eastern Cape in June and July has been extended for the month of August.

The racing operators continue to contribute 40% of previous stakes levels, with the Racing Association topping this up by a further 20% to achieve the current 60% levels.

The racing operators and the Racing Association have continued to meet monthly to analyse betting-revenue trends before making further decisions regarding stakes levels on a monthly basis.

The parties have also agreed to further defer the negotiation of the new stakes agreement until more certainty emerges on a number of issues affecting the industry. So when does the doggie actually start wagging his tail?

Given the degree of cynicism that already exists in this industry – or sport – the layman must ask why the further delay after eleven weeks? Phumelela was on a downward curve for years – the business model is surely not that complicated? Are the masked suitors really queuing three deep? But what do we know?

A report states that several attractive proposals have been received from parties interested in the business or assets of the company and the business rescue practitioner and his team are busy evaluating these proposals.

For how much longer and what’s the incentive to finalise the outcome?


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13 comments on “Tail Still Wagging This Hound?

  1. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Has anyone got John Evans’s number for me please ? I want him to take a pick 6 for me everyday for just 10% of he’s earning and we split the profit ?
    Come Mr Evans,, we know MOD have this one in the bag, just let it out,, you can bring Fred,, William and Ladbrokes and they cant match MOD’s tickey pocket! You playing for time and racing is running out of time and fast! You think Mary is going to leave her (Giant) stallions in Fred’s hands? 🤣 don’t make me laugh!

  2. Cecil Pienaar says:

    😂 No rush Frankie. discounted rate 4.6 thousand p/h working from home….. not sure vat inclusive 🤔

  3. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Mr Ed hope you are well,,Mr Ed any idea if Patrick Davis who is running SA racing is he back from the UK ? I’m hearing from multiple trainers that the man who is running SA racing is still living in the UK and hasn’t been seen in 6 months or even longer,,surely by now knowing the trouble that racing finds it’s self in that one would expect to be back meeting with trainers and stakeholders face to face..Mr Ed can you pls try do me a favour and forward the CEO’s No of Flemington racecourse Aus? I would like to ask him if I could possibly run Flemington racing and its racecourse for him from South Africa? i dont mind being paid in rands..Mr Ed if you get this right for me I’ll split the salary! happy?

  4. Louis Goosen says:

    Frankie Zackie, I love your passion for Racing and pray for many more like you.

    I am in KZN, so I cannot be sure of what is now happening in Gauteng, with Phum. Over the years, whilst representing Trainers, I often found that our members were very misinformed. Maybe so too, on this subject…

    In May, I communicated with Patrick Davis, from Durbs to Jhb. I would be surprised if he managed to leave for UK since then or was in UK during our comms.

    In my opinion, Patrick is, by far, the best Racing
    Operations Manager that I have dealt with over the years. He is not the board of Phum and his job is to run Phum Racing, within the restrictions and restraints and also as per the commands of the Phum Board.

    That job, is a damn tough one, imho.

  5. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Hi Louis I guess you spot on about my sickness for the game,, but in all honesty I’m starting to wonder for how much longer,, it’s very sad to see horseracing in the shape it is in at the moment..Louis I respect your views because you speak your mind and keep quiet for no one,,but please don’t shoot the messenger! When I was at the sales today I was told we must be the only racing jurisdiction in the world to have someone running racing from another country,,I was shocked to hear it but found out that it is true..
    I’m sure he is world class,, but then let him run racecourses in the UK.. We need men on the ground in SA thank you very much,, not ones as you refer to sitting and directing from boardrooms…Shot my brother!

  6. DEAN DEMONT says:

    Impossible Frankie ?? Where did you hear this??

  7. Steve Reid says:

    Frankie might well be incorrect about specific timing regarding Davis being present in South Africa, but he is spot on about Davis spending extended periods in the UK. He is also spot on in his views that we need people on the ground should we ever want to sort out the cancer in our racing. While Goosen deserves plaudits for protecting his mate, the cold reality is regardless of the mans ability to do the job remotely ( something I disagree with strongly ), all hands are needed on deck.

  8. Dayalan Moodley says:

    On 8 May 2020 (DAY 1 of business rescue), John Evans accepted the appointment as BR practitioner and he issued a letter to Phumelela (on RS Advisors letterhead) confirming, inter alia,

    (i) “I hereby accept the appointment”
    (ii) “I have the capacity to carry out my functions and duties as business rescue practitioner”

    Was John Evans acting in good faith when he accepted the above appointment above? Knowing the remuneration structure upfront and the fact that he had to deliver a BR Plan within 25 business days (section 151(5) of the Companies Act), i.e. 12 June 2020 being the due date for the report.

    The following should concern all stakeholders regarding the BR proceeding and how it is unfolding:

    DAY 1 (8 May) – John Evans accepts the appointment

    DAY 15 (22 May) – John Evans gets approval from creditors (representing claims of R44.1m) to increase his hourly rate and to agree to an extension to 31 July 2020 to submit the BR Plan, i.e. and extension from 25 business days to 59 business days.

    DAY 25 (12 June) – Original due date for the BR Plan

    DAY 57 (29 July) – John Evans issues a letter to creditors requesting an extension to 18 August 2020 (70 days from DAY 1)

    Is Evans taking the piss? Clearly, he did not have the capacity to undertake this assignment. He was given 59 business days to do a 25 day assignment and on DAY 57 he pops he head out to inform all stakeholders that he is going to miss the deadline in 2 days! Or is the PCG influencing the procrastination?

    PS. Neither Davis nor Evans are in touch with the urgency or the crisis that plagues Phumelela. Its a waste of time debating their impressive CVs, expertise or competence if neither are able to deliver the value that they are handsomely compensated for while the masses are being retrenched at their expense.

  9. Leon Smuts says:

    I could be wrong but i believe that the assessment is possibly done but that time is needed for those looking to step up to the plate to do their due diligence and to perhaps reassess their offers. Is it necessary to be in office for that entire time, I don’t know? Lets see what comes from negotiations before expressing real concerns and opinions. I still believe that those involved will act in the best interest of racing.

  10. Dave Marks says:

    Mr Leon Smuts,

    Your comment that you still believe that those involved will act in the best interest of racing has compelled me to leave this message.

    You are not alone. I believe that a major portion of the horse racing sector has your belief. There is nothing wrong with having good beliefs. The difficulty I have with your belief is that it is based on a false premise and that is the business rescue practitioner is acting in the best interests of horse racing. You and everyone that thinks like you needs to dispel that belief. The sooner you do, the better.

    The business rescue practitioner has no obligation to look after horse racing. Employees, creditors and shareholders of Phumelela will be the happiest of all, if the business rescue practitioner succeeds. The horse racing sector is not a priority to him. The business rescue has got nothing to with saving horse racing. It’s got everything to do about rescuing Phumelela. If the business rescue practitioner regards horse racing as a sinking ship that has no value to Phumelela, he will let it sink.

    For the notebook: I believe that the touted messiah of horse racing, MOD, will start to get cold feet and fade into the sunset to let horse racing solve its problems without MOD.

  11. Leon Smuts says:

    @Dave. I do not doubt for a second that your summation of the role of the business practitioner is spot on and that saving Phumelela and thus creditors money is the number one priority. Having said that everybody else that are involved are racing people with an interest in saving the sport and in no uncertain terms MOD falls into this category. I do not see them being in it for only monetary gain as it is hard to imagine them being needy financially. Because of the panel and benefactor involvement I am still hopeful that racing will end up being the winner. You might be 100% correct but I will be holding on for a better outcome.

  12. Michael Jacobs MGJ says:

    Looking at this matter purely as a punter (a customer of the industry), i have to say I couldn’t care less about the business practitioner, the MOD, the restructuring team and/or the rescuing of Phumelela.

    My interest in this is purely what is going to be done to improve the punter/customer experience of horse racing. For decades there has been a steady decline in horse-racing- service, innovation, facilities, customer numbers, quality of racing, dwindling of big blockbuster days, MR system- the list is endless. These are the real reasons why racing is in business rescue today. Forget about the finances, Jooste, the Steinhoff/Mayfair fall-out, poor business decisions (Futsal, Rocket, etc), the real reason is that the racing hierarchy forgot about the customer and the customer deserted them for bookmakers, casinos, sports-betting and just gave up the game altogether.

    What should happen is that parallel to what is happening on the financial/ business rescue side, there should be a customer rescue intervention to try and revive the betting interest. Because no matter how great the business rescue plan is, it will count for nothing if customers continue to stay away and stop betting.

  13. nordog says:

    Thanks Michael that’s the most sensible and erudite piece I’ve read on this subject for ages.

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