Parliament misinformed

SPECIAL REPORT from John Freeman

I was gob smacked yesterday to receive a report from the public hearings of the Portfolio Committee on Gambling Review Commission’s Report in Parliament.  Serial litigant and self-proclaimed head of a non-existent Groom Union, claiming to represent 1000 grooms country-wide, allegedly rambled on for an hour or more about how racing does nothing to help grooms – claiming that our industry has made no attempt at transformation.  This man, Simoto, was a regular attendee of the school that I founded at Milnerton 18 years ago.  His sole mission there was to try and organise grooms into a union for his own ends.  They recognised him as a bad egg.  He thought he might make work for himself in the industry by taking membership fees off grooms and failed – he has no members in the Cape, let alone the 1000 he claims to have nationally.  After some years of experiencing this man disrupt classes, the grooms and the school saw through his game and showed him the door.

As President of the WP Grooms School Trust I feel insulted at what this man is reported to have said in Parliament – he is a liar and we know all about him.  He has launched numerous legal suits, wasting taxpayers’ money with legal representation for nefarious claims against the NHRA, The Grooms Trust, the Racing Operator and his ex-employer – all failed.  He is a vexatious litigant and a waste of time.  How Parliament could waste their time listening to his rubbish is beyond me.  Our Groom’s School Trust has invested 18 years of hard work, over R15m and made massive improvements in the lives of grooms.  We have taught them to ride better and the WPOTA, who started work-riders races in the Cape 30 years ago have helped us sponsor a series of races specifically dedicated to black work-riders in the Cape each year.  The many grooms that have graduated from our work-rider programmes will testify to the rich rewards they have enjoyed from this programme.  We have imported professional teachers from overseas with world-class training aids and programs to enrich their lives for the betterment, not only of the grooms themselves, but to uplift the standard of horse-care in SA.  We have encouraged and rewarded their excellence.  Grooms names appear in race cards, they are rewarded for the performance of the horses they look after.  Their importance in the lives of our horses and as role players in our industry is fully acknowledged – where does this man get his ideas from?  He is a charlatan and I hope that he will be exposed again.  Has all of the hard work we and so many others in this industry done to enrich the lives of our grooms gone unnoticed?  What’s that old adage “let no good deed go unpunished” – so true.  Go away, fool.

Then I heard that Parliament also listened to claims of one Phindi Khema, that our industry is a racist male-dominated sport which bars black participation – what a load of hogwash.  We don’t need people like this giving us bad press.  I personally tried very hard to help this woman make a start in our industry. She stood me up for meetings several times.  Despite this, my syndicates and principals gave her R150 000-worth of services to our stallions.  She has no idea what it is to run a breeding operation.  I wasted my time trying to guide her.  She was hell-bent on taking the industry on from the outset.  Some hair-brained scheme of a multi-million dollar race meeting on a polo-field for D-Div horses that could never fly and now she claims she was broadsided.  After all we did to try and help her, this is the thanks we get.


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