Dear Editor: Resilient: What's the JSE to do?

What’s the JSE going to do?
I assume the information you published on Pangbourne Properties Ltd and Resilient Property Fund Ltd (noses136 &137) has been verified and is correct. What is the JSE going to do about it?

The facts, as supplied by you, must require action from the JSE. What these two companies (Resilient having taken over Pangbourne) have done is absolutely illegal and is punishable. What next? They can’t get away with this.

Louis de Becker
By email
Ask the JSE. They can access all the information they need with the click of a computer button. – Ed.

Apparently many in the industry are aware that the source of your information is a listed property competitor.

Is it not prudent to advise on the credibility of the source and the motivation behind all this effort and, similarly, to ensure that it is not perceived as some sort of vendetta or personal gripe?

Otherwise, most interesting stuff. Are there going to be additional articles covering some of the other directors and funds in the same stable?

By email
What if the anonymous source (we don’t know who) that first brought the information to light is a competitor with a gripe, running a vendetta? If the information is correct, and suggests wrongdoing, all the rest is irrelevant to our case. That’s the nature of democracy and a free market: conflicting interests are motivated by self-interest to check and challenge one another. No matter what the original source, we check our information and stand by what we publish.

We have never held shares in the Resilient group or had any personal dealings with its directors. What we published we published because we believe it is newsworthy and in the public interest.Ed.

Lane wouldn’t have killed himself
Thank you very much for investigating the John Lane story. We all knew that it could never have been suicide. John was too generous to be so selfish as to take his own life. Thank you again. I thought no-one cared.

Chris Ndaba
By email

Pox on all your houses
Anyone reading your “Gates of Wrath” article should feel ashamed to have spent money on a publication that gleefully sensationalises the private affairs of a family in despair.

Cape Town

If there was any sensationalising, it was done by the parties themselves in open court proceedings; the despair in which the family finds itself is, it is argued, being aggravated and exploited to avoid the dictates of the law when it comes to sharing a large fortune. All matters of which society is entitled to take note. Ed.

Mouldy business
Browsing the internet, I have noticed a number of references to scams related to Mouldmed (inter alia, noses30,35&50), RRR-Link and associated companies. Those involved are the Therons of the Kubus scandal of the 1980s. Have you had any other complaints about their dubious activities?

John Binns
Table View

How many more complaints do you want? The Therons in question have spent half a century causing a lifetime of trouble to thousands of people. That’s just who and how they are. And you, as far as they’re concerned, are just another determined sucker. Ed.
The Ghavalas gang
For over 10 years I have been pursuing the whereabouts of one of the pension fund surpluses – that of the Cullinan 1985 fund – involved in the Ghavalas scam (nose119). But I remain poorly informed on the details of the progress in their recovery.

In a nutshell: the Cullinan Pension Fund was outsourced in 1995 by converting it to an Old Mutual retirement annuity – without obtaining the members’ approval or notifying them of the changes.

The assets of the fund included a “surplus” of R53 million (current value R350m) which was not paid out to the members or added to the capital value of their pensions.

It is unknown in terms of which Act or other regulation this could legitimately have occurred.

The surplus was somehow transferred to a memberless fund, apparently set up by Simon Nash/Ghavalas etc specifically to strip out these surpluses for their own benefit.

The conditions of the plea bargains, the huge curator’s fees, the manipulation of prosecution charges and the Pension Fund Administrator’s reactions make one seriously question whether there is any integrity left in the pension business – and whether, at the end of the day, there will be anything left for the pensioners.
The Ghavalas gang (who are being unbelievably lightly dealt with), Old Mutual, the Curator, the FSB and others involved have generated an impenetrable cloud of obfuscation and bovine excreta, for the pensioners to have to contend with.

Recently OM placed a notice in the press regarding the fund surplus, calling for members to apply to be included in a distribution – but then replied to applicants that virtually none of them are eligible for the R151m recovered.

At present I am preparing a complaint for the Law Society against the fund curator, who steadfastly refuses to provide any information to the representatives of the fund members (who in fact are the clients, via the FSB).

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Raymond R Tyler
By email

When you get to filing a complaint with the Law Society, you really must be desperate – because they, for certain, will do absolutely nothing that will be of any help to you. The only way you’ll get some sort of justice is if you steal from a bank, or an insurance company, or a lawyer. I’m only sort-of joking.Ed.

Let my bankers go!
While in the UK in December, I opened a simple savings account with Barclays Bank.  No bank charges for depositing or withdrawing from this account. Back at home I deposited R1,100 cash into my Standard Bank account and was charged R16 for this single little transaction. The South African bank customer is being ripped off at every turn. I thought that when Gill Marcus was appointed at the Reserve Bank she was going to investigate these excessive bank charges and credit card fees extracted from their poorer customers. (The wealthy appear not to pay bank charges.) When challenged on the ridiculous – even obscene – bonuses and, for that matter, salaries paid to the banking fat cats, the bleat is that if they are not paid these sums they will up-sticks and off. Perhaps their bluff should be called.

It seems the word “modest” has disappeared from our vocabulary, certainly where it pertains to fat cat packages.

Alison Weston

Phone invasions
Thank you for your articles exposing the ongoing spam and telemarketers calling at all hours invading my personal space.

One always wonders: where on earth did they get my contact details from? Even when filling in forms, I am always evasive with my cell number and email address.

I got married in January 2006 and have since then changed my accounts and policies to my married name – except my FNB current account.

For some time I have suspected them of having given out my personal details but when I’ve confronted my personal banker with this, they have denied it.

Just two days ago, after reading your article, I again received a spam email addressed to my maiden name. 

I have sent a message to my personal banker and have replied to the company and told them that they are operating with an illegal data base.

What else can I do to protect my privacy?

Lindy McMahon
By email

Fishy smell from the Waterfront
Something just doesn’t make sense: the V&A Waterfront gets sold four years ago for R7.2 billion to a Dubai-based investor at a time when everyone is making money hand-over-fist; it is bought back this year by shareholders including the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), using pensioners’ money, for R9.7bn at a time when:
1) the world is experiencing one of the most frightening economic downturns in living memory;
2) Dubai has shelved pretty much every construction deal they had and are regretting their frenzied tourism oriented investments;
3) the seller is short on dough and would be happy to break even on some of their investments.

Any chance that the selling price is R7bn and the other R2.5bn (state pensioners’ money) finds its way into a couple of fancy bank accounts overseas?

I couldn’t think of a better deal for the Dubai company... a 34% capital appreciation in a dire economic climate?

Smells to me…

By email

You’re right about the stink – it’s overwhelming – but wrong on the detail. Investec somehow managed to lean upon the custodians ofgovernment employees’ pension funds – the PIC – to pay them the interest that, for a good long while, they weren’t paid by Dubai and its partners on a massive loan it had raised from South African banks – led by Investec.

Investec and its friends had gaily advanced the entire amount needed to buy the V&A Waterfront. Dubai invested not a bean of its own.

So Investec and its friends stood to take the rap, which they have now contrived to pass on to the state’s “widows and orphans”, with interest! Like you, w’d love to know how they managed to do that. Ed.

South Africa
V&a Waterfront
Pension Fund
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