The latest round of half-truths and disingenuous statements under the pen of the chairlady, Susan Rowett, on behalf of the NHA, of 3 September 2021, albeit that she probably wasn’t the drafter hereof, should be treated with derision and contempt and necessitates a response, suggests Attorney Robert Bloomberg.
As we don’t have the luxury of the NHA database with which to regurgitate on members, we again sadly have to resort to public platforms.
Robert Bloomberg writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag in reference to a notice published on the NHA website on Friday 3 September 2021, and which we believe was emailed to certain NHA members.
The NHA references rules 6.9 and 6.10 which pertain to complaints levelled against licenced officials and the CEO, and which requires any complainant to lodge a R3,000 deposit which may be declared forfeit and appallingly allows a fine of “not more than R50,000 if his complaint is considered unwarranted.”
At a recent meeting of the NHA SGM Committee and SANTA/industry representatives, I drew this rule to their attention in response to a question as to why nobody had lodged any complaint against Arnold Hyde (“RCE”).
The 5 NHA board directors who attended this meeting were oblivious to this fact.
The NHA would now have you believe that “it should be emphasized that that these rules were formulated with the support of the industry participants at a Rules Committee (“RC’) meeting.”
This I’m afraid is nothing but a blatant lie!
The aforestated rules are in my rulebook printed/dated October 2016.
Owner, trainer, and jockey representation on the RC was only approved formally by the NHA board and my advised thereof by Lyndon Barends, in and during May 2017 and the first meeting attended by them in October 2017. They attempt to hoodwink the racing industry yet again!
We left the meeting with the fervent belief that progress had been made in finding a viable and compromised solution, this after the NHA had not assumed any accountability, nor made a single concession that there were any problems within their organization, choosing to instead in a number of media releases to self-adulate and to blame a few disgruntled trainers and of course myself, for the requisition document and resolutions brought.
This despite the fact that there were 336 signatories including many of the biggest players in the industry.
Now, they resort to this destructive and malicious diatribe masquerading as a peace offering and which by the way wasn’t even formally sent to me, notwithstanding that the last time I looked I was still a member.
Further, and on the subject of the RC, it is important to note that at the last meeting scheduled for 29 June 2021, the NHA refused to invite the owner’s representative on the untruthful basis stated that “one owners’ representative shall be invited only when any specific rule/s may affect owners and their input may be required.”
These comments were attributed to the RC chair, Dr Ashley Parker, who categorically stated that he knew nothing about this, so you be the judge as to who took this decision.
Only two possibilities exist in my book.
Apart from the fact, that owners are an entrenched part of the RC, and which is admitted now by them, nearly every proposed rule on that specific agenda affected them directly or indirectly.
You would be simply appalled if you saw a number of these proposed rule changes which were clearly introduced by the RCE as a result of the NHA losing a recent High Court action and certain of these rule amendments were in open defiance of the judgement handed down therein.
It was only because I formally objected to all of this and provided the necessary proof, that Adv Christiaan Van der Merwe had no alternative but to advise the RC that the meeting had been improperly constituted and must be postponed, which incidentally all of the chairlady, CEO, and RCE sit on, and with the NHA attorney, Nic Roodt, an invitee, otherwise you can be rest assured that these rules would now be in force.
The NHA claim that rules 6.9 and 6.10, and the potential “punishments” attached thereto, are the sole reasons for people not formally lodging complaints. This is incorrect.
Whilst this is most certainly an exceedingly telling factor, they omit to inform you that actual legitimate fear of victimization and reprisal from the RCE, in addition to a complete and utter lack of trust in the NHA to actually do anything, are additionally vital reasons as to the reluctance.
The NHA fairly recently sent out a media release wherein they attached a factually inaccurate and defamatory letter accusing certain implicated trainers in the zilpaterol matters of inter alia “animal abuse” which letter was drafted by an unqualified former employee.
This they did despite the fact that the person concerned who had initially requested the Sporting Post to publish the letter, had after receipt of a legal letter, wisely and correctly decided to withdraw this request.
This didn’t stop Ms Rowett and the NHA from disseminating same, a pretty disgraceful and shameful action.
Following the meeting mentioned above, and at which I raised numerous issues concerning the RCE and which I believe stunned those present, the SANTA chair, Tony Rivalland, was contacted by one of the NHA directors with a request that he prevail upon me to lodge a formal complaint in writing with the SGM.
This I duly did on 26 August 2021 in a 7-page, 8 annexure document, and which contained reference to 24 individual matters as well as a number of other incidents.
The mail was addressed for the attention of the chair of the SGM Committee, Adv Van der Merwe, who has yet to acknowledge receipt hereof.
In fact, he has never responded to a single mail I have sent him and there have been a few.
Bar the one incident dating back to 2012 when the RCE gave, what in my professional and informed opinion, amounted to false testimony in a particular matter, all the other cases were post his taking office as RCE on 1 April 2015.
In my professional opinion, these allegations are an indictment on the office of the RCE.
The NHA now says laughably that “it will be very unfortunate if these issues of principle are distorted by personal complaints.” Seriously!
What is correctly stated is that voting on the resolutions “should be decided on principle and what is best for the industry” and that is undoubtedly that the RCE vanishes off into the sunset with haste.
I must reiterate that the object of resolution 2 was in fact that there is no need for the position of RCE as these functions can be once again assumed by the CEO and distributed to the chief stipendiary stewards and their respective teams thereby saving the industry millions.
So, this is not merely “a management issue to be dealt with by the board” but a matter to be voted on by members. The board has already nailed their colours to the mast by stating that they are “united in their support of the RCE.”
In reality, neither the RCE, nor the CEO, should be directors of the NHA as they are simply employees.
Their presence as directors counters the independence and discretion of the board. The former shouldn’t even attend board meetings, whilst the latter should only be there via invitation and by so-doing would not be able to exercise any undue influence on the board, nor be able to exercise voting rights. This should be a given.
What is exceedingly interesting is that the moratorium is limited to a 1-year period from 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021.
Does this mean that I can now be fined for my complaints lodged in matters that occurred prior to 1 August 2020 and what convenient time parameters when one considers that dating back to 30 November 2019 when the grooms protested at Turffontein and Larry Wainstein was charged and fined for allegedly conducting himself in an improper manner, and which was subsequently apparently overturned by the Inquiry Review Board, that the CEO is alleged to have conducted himself in a deplorable and far worse manner and that the RCE declined to do anything about it.
I know of 4 trainers and a jockey who witnessed this who personally informed me of same and am reliably informed that there were a number of stipes present as well as others.
Yet, when Andrew Fortune stated in the Sporting Post on Rowett assuming office that she shouldn’t “sweep matters under the carpet”, the RCE ridiculously charged him with breaching rules and with ludicrous allegations of defamation attached therewith.
Then of course, they have given members until 10 September 2021 within which to lodge complaints – exactly 1 week – and when due for the reasons stated herein only obviously get a mere handful of complaints, will endeavour to unabashedly tell you that this unequivocally indicates the support of and complete faith in management and the board.
In the famous words of Abraham Lincoln “you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
The contents of this letter are not necessarily the views of the Sporting Post, it’s management, or staff.