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South Africa's Corporate Sector Can Ill Afford To Throw Stones From Its Glasshouse - Part 2.

By Udo W. Froese
"Ruthless, dishonest businessmen in South Africa have stolen assets of Randgold to the value of R21 billion. Subsequently, others have prevented the minorities of the company from obtaining what is rightfully theirs. I cannot stand idly by and permit this to happen," retired, former senior stockbroker at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and director of the mining company, Randgold, Johann Blersch, stated in his public address.

The Banks And The Mining Companies Accused Of Theft.

Blersch explained in a report published on March 13, 2007 in South Africa's daily business newspaper, Business Day, "Randgold is the largest creditor of Johannesburg Consolidated Investments (JCI). The amounts owed by JCI to Randgold may exceed JCI's net asset value." The above was executed during the time of Brett Kebble, from September 1997 to August 2007.

Under the watch of the various "controlling organs" such as the bank ombudsman, the various chambers of banks, of business, commerce and industries and mines, under the self-appointed captains of industries as well as under the department of finance under former minister Trevor Manuel and the former head of South Africa's Reserve Bank, Tito Mboweni, billions were stolen and misappropriated.

Johann Blersch recorded, "In essence Brett Kebble stole from the one entity (Randgold) to fund the other three entities (JCI, Western Areas and himself and his family). Investec Bank received stolen Randgold Resources shares from JCI, which Investec then sold. As bankers to the Kebble Empire, Investec should have known that these shares were stolen."

"Investec retained part of the proceeds of these shares in settlement of its loans to JCI. The balance was paid to JCI. From 1999 to 2005 Brett Kebble stole the bulk of Randgold's portfolio and sold the shares for R1 900 million. Unchallenged forensic reports show that the initial recipients of the R1 900 million were (a) JCI R900 million; (b) Western Areas R500 million; (c) The Kebbles R400 million and (d) Investec R100 million", Blersch reflected.

He further states, "The shares stolen from Randgold were sold for R1.9 billion. By the end of June 2010 the claim based on the Roman Dutch law against thieves, 'condictio furtiva', had reached R21 billion. When Barry Seargant's book on the Kebble collusion was published, this figure had reached R26 billion and now stands at R30 billion."

Author Barry Seargant documents Kebble's theft in his book "The Kebble Collusion". "It is the well-researched documentary of the world's biggest unprosecuted fraud. In today's terms it would amount to R30 billion. And, the cast is stellar: top financial institutions, leading bankers, a world where every other player is an attorney, a world where Brett Kebble was king."

"It is incredible that non of the South African regulatory authorities has taken any effective action and that no prosecutions have taken place," observes Johann Blersch.

The Assault On The Rand.

"In 2001 South Africa was hit by a financial crisis of epic proportions: the rand collapsed," documented researcher/journalist/ author, Barry Sergeant in his book "The Assault On The Rand".

"During 2001, the rand depreciated from around R7.60 to the dollar at the beginning of the year to over R8.00 for the first time ever during the second quarter. And the pace of depreciation increased:

- R8.52 to the dollar on 11 September;
- R9.03 at the end of September;
- R9.44 at the end of October;
- R10.27 at the end of November;
and - R13.84 on 21 December."

"The 21 December rate was an all-time low against the dollar and the rand has never fallen to that level since", wrote Sergeant in his book, "The Assault on the Rand."

Sergeant commented, "For South Africa, it specifically meant that its mining exports earned more rands. Almost all commodities are quoted and traded in dollars. South Africa's mines experienced a boom in revenue – in rand terms."

The popular causes for the rand's woes given by commentators in the academia, the economy and the media were then the Argentinean debt crisis; the Zimbabwean situation; the slow pace of privatisation in South Africa and the Aids pandemic in the country, the author explained. "These issues were priced into the market on a gradual basis over a considerable period of time and are now muddying the waters when analysing the demise of the rand. However, the use of dubious financial methods undermining the value of the currency was the core of the problem."

Barry Sergeant further published, "On 21 December 2001 DEUTSCHE BANK issued a market commentary in their bulletin titled 'Capitulation of our rand view finally!' Interestingly during the same period the 'SUNDAY TIMES' carried a headline article concerning 'the big bang' approach to exchange control and consequent free fall of the rand."

"Market jitters at that stage set in and the rapid downward spiral of the rand began reaching an all-time low of R13.84 to the US dollar on 21 December 2001."

The former CEO of the South African Chamber of Business (SACOB), Kevin Wakeford, who blew the whistle,further found out that DEUTSCHE BANK was not alone in this covert treasonous action. Other companies mentioned were Nampak, M-Cell and Billiton. DEUTSCHE BANK currently owns 7% of BHP Billiton. All of this came out when recalled president Thabo Mbeki had appointed the Rand Commission of Inquiry under labour judge Myburgh. Kevin Wakeford had pushed Mbeki to act.

It was revealed that DEUTSCHE BANK was the common denominator during the Rand Commission's hearings. The corporates were SASOL, M-Cell, Nampak and BHP Billiton. This scam developed under the watch of the then governor of the Reserve Bank, Tito Mboweni; the then Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel and his wife, Maria Ramos.


The mass theft and laundering of taxpayers' money of the mid- 1970s up to 1994, also known as Information Scandal, or Infogate, under the former apartheid regime, should never be forgotten. It was estimated then that some R800 billion of taxpayers' funds left South Africa.

Besides the former structures of the Reserve Bank, many Western European banks were directly and indirectly involved. That money has been laundered so well and split into numerous trust accounts that it would not be traceable. By now it would be earning a lot of interest.

The question often raisedis – would such money not also be used to fund certain covert operations, funds and foundations to mislead South Africa from outside? During the banking crisis of the 1980s, Bankorp (ABSA) swindled some R14 billion, with the subsequent provision for it in its accounts to repay. That money has never been claimed back.

Mafia-Style Construction Cartel's Criminal Collusion. As if this was not enough. South Africa's construction cartel was found guilty of 'criminal collusion'. South Africa's national financial daily, 'Business Report', published on 26 June 2013, "The collusion to rig bids and tenders for the 2010 World Cup stadium build programme was just the tip of a monstrous iceberg of fraud and deceit by construction firms including most prominent JSE-listed companies." COSATU publicly accused the executives of the country's construction cartel of treason, as they abused public funds, in other words, taxpayers' money for their own profit.

The construction industry's decision makers held secret meetings during which it decided to inflate the price of tenders, allocating contracts among themselves, adding billions to the cost of the South African National Roads Agency's Gauteng freeway improvements, other road schemes, the stadiums, electrical and instrumentation projects.

It came to light when the Competition Commission investigated the construction industry's bid rigging on 300 projects valued at R47 billion. R28 billion related to public sector contracts and R19 billion had gone to private sector work, 'Business Report' documented. According to the Competition Commission's report, some 15 constructions companies had agreed to penalties collectively amounting to R1.46 billion in contravention of the Competition Act.

'Business Report' writes further, "In terms of the 2010 World Cup stadium agreement, during, or about in 2006 Grinaker-LTA, WBHO, M&R, Group Five, Concor, Basil Read and Stefanutti Stocks met twice and reached a deal for the construction of the stadiums."

Mafia-Style Collusion For Price-Fixing To Starve The Masses.

The fishing group, Oceana, admitted guilt to the Competition Commission for a long list of pricefixing. Oceana then agreed to pay a fine of R35 mill.

- South Africa's competition watch merely proposed to the mighty SASOL to fine the oil and gas company with 10% of its turnover for charging excessive prices for polypropylene and propylene.

- The Competition Commission then reached a settlement agreement with SASOL, finalising the abuse aspect of a fertiliser case.

- The Competition Commission raided the offices of South African Airways (SAA), Mango Airways and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa to investigate collusion and price-fixing.

- SAA and SA Express denied all allegations of price-fixing around the Football World Cup in 2010.

- The mobile phone operators, Vodacom and MTN seem to be involved in price-fixing and have been probed. The outcome as specified by the Competition Commission was that the prices for airtime and data bundles would be drastically reduced, despite both companies wailing programmes.

- The Competition Commission further raided the offices of the exclusive cement cartel to investigate its collusion on price-fixing. A final outcome is still pending.

- The exclusive sugar cartel in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seems also to be under the watch of the Competition Commission. Sugar prices in the SADC are by far higher than in most sugar producing regions.

- Bakeries and milk producers colluded to fix prices with subsequent drastic price hikes in order to make huge profits while starving the poor.

- The Competition Tribunal investigated Pioneer Foods, which then accepted charges of price-fixing.

- Foodcorp paid a fine of R45 mill to the Competition Commission after it had been found guilty and accepted the verdict of pricefixing.

- Clover and Ladysmith Cheese have been found guilty of collusion to fix prices.

The above demonstrates that many a South African private sector company's corporate greed has no space for humanity.

The poor masses have been dumped in desperate poverty and starvation. This is a crime against humanity. The fines the above corporates pay, are ridiculously low and have not achieved much. Meanwhile, the investigated reports and the admissions of guilt have not made it to the front pages and carry no sensation.

It is incredible that the Competition Commission has not been tasked with the investigation into the continuous collusion of the private sector and its devastating results. Please don't shine the light too bright on South Africa's private sector …that seems the corporate media'sapproach in stark contrast to its badgering of the ANC and its government.


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