Once upon a time prison uniforms had black and white stripes. Dr Freud would have said that Investec’s choice of the zebra as their corporate symbol was a dead give-away clue to their subconscious sense of where they belong. Our cover story tells a shocking tale about actions to which Investec and its agents stooped a dozen years ago – and how the consequences are still felt acutely by some of the victims.
Maybe: but that’s ancient history, you say? Well, then, let us put you right. Investec’s disrespect for the law and the constitutional rights of its employees and clients is not just history; nor is its wont to employ “private” investigator Warren Goldblatt’s AIN to cross the legal line on its behalf merely historical: Earlier this year former Investec employee Mrs Glenda Faye Thomas had reason to lodge a complaint against Investec with the Human Rights Commission. This was after she had taken her dispute with the bank to the CCMA, who awarded her damages for constructive dismissal. How had they “constructively” dismissed her? Investec head office in Joburg harrassed and hounded her by, yes, tapping her office phones and emails, pressuring her (and many other employees) into undergoing lie-detector tests (crunch question that was supposed to set her pulse racing: “Did you leak information to noseweek?”) and illegally obtaining her (and her husband’s) personal bank and telephone records (once again with Mr Goldblatt’s help) – all because Investec management had somehow got it into their heads (or maybe Mr Goldblatt put it there) that she was the source of the inside stories about the bank that are constantly leaked to noseweek.
In her submission to the Human Rights Commission Glenda Thomas states: “I understand that Investec as a company has the right to protect its business interest, but I believe that the Bill of Rights supersedes any authority that seeks to violate a person’s individual rights without obtaining proper legal permission or following due process. My complaint pertains to the unlawful accessing of my personal information, including, inter alia, confidential banking records, phone records, and so on.
“Investec did not follow due process in obtaining information pertaining to my spouse and I, information which is constitutionally protected and privileged – in other words, no permission was sought, no high court order or section 205 warrant (in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act) was obtained.”
|"Why is it that they always go around talking about how they earned their stripes?"|
Investec illegally obtained Mr and Mrs Thomas’s personal bank records because they thought they would find evidence there of the massive payments they were sure she must be receiving from noseweek on a regular basis. Such arseholes.
For the record: noseweek had not spoken to Mrs Thomas until this year, and then only about her CCMA case. We have never received information from Mrs Thomas about Investec, or anything else – either directly or through anyone else. We have never paid her anything, either directly or indirectly.
Last year a noseweek reporter did speak to her husband, Chad Thomas – a private investigator – by telephone on one or two occasions, about an entirely unrelated matter. He was, regrettably, unable to assist with the information we sought. But no doubt the noseweek calls showed up tantalizingly on his private telephone records and justified Mr Goldblatt in charging Investec a fat fee.
Also for the record: noseweek has, as fate would have it, received useful information about Investec – indirectly – from a source at Mr Goldblatt’s company, AIN. And we did not even have to pay for it. I swear.
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