Digging into the South Deep scam

Digging into the South Deep scam

The bosses will probably pocket around R1 billion in the world’s second greatest mining scandal.

Major corporate scandals have a habit of remaining undetected for years. When the fat lady finally sings, the overwhelming question is invariably “why didn’t anyone say anything, long ago?”

This 27 September marked the ten-year anniversary of the death of Brett Kebble. His greatest legacy – besides the biggest unprosecuted fraud in South African history – is South Deep gold mine, west of Johannesburg.

South Deep, frequently punted as the deepest and potentially richest gold mine in the world – it isn’t – has developed a unique life of its own on the stockmarket. That, and its new ownership and management, call for closer examination. For a start, it’s time to ask what the managers and board of Gold Fields, proud owners of the mine, have done to deserve remuneration of more than R700 million in the five years since Nick Holland took the CEO’s seat in May 2008.

At that rate, in a few years from now, Gold Fields’s bosses would have pocketed around R1 billion, in reward for what more and more people suspect might turn out to be the world’s second greatest mining scandal.


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