Christo Wiese South Africa Billionaire

Christo Wiese is the brain behind Shoprite, Africa’s most storied retail chain.


A story is told of two shoe salesmen who went to a poor country to undertake due diligence because their parent company was looking to make a foray into the country. One of the salesmen sent back a telegram, saying: “There’s no market here because nobody here wears shoes,” and the other one sent a telegram back: “I’m elated because what a market – because nobody has shoes.”

That anecdote is reminiscent of South African billionaire Christo Wiese’s story. When Wiese went to Zambia in the early 1990s to open up a clothing store, he discovered that clothing was sold on the street pavement by hawkers. There were no clothes shops in the country, and a colleague from Pep Stores with whom he had made the trip told him, “You know, we can’t come and open shops here because people prefer to buy  their clothes from hawkers,” Wiese recalled during an interview with South Africa’s Leadership magazine.

Of course, Wiese went ahead and launched a Pepkor store in the southern African country. Needless to say, it thrived- just like all the other previous stores across the continent.

Today, Wiese is the largest individual shareholder and chairman of retail giants Pepkor, Shoprite and Tradehold, and one of the continent’s most successful entrepreneurs, with a net worth of $3.1 billion on Forbes’ 2012 World’s Billionaires List.

After acquiring a bachelors’ degree in law from the University of Stellenbosch, Wiese practiced at the Cape Bar for several years before taking up a job as an Executive Director at Pepkor, a discount clothing chain his parents had helped found. By 1979, Pep Stores made its foray into the food retailing business with its acquisition of Shoprite, a small chain of retail outlets spread across South Africa. Wiese assumed the position of chairman in 1981, and in 1982 he led the company to change its name from Pep Stores to Pepkor Limited.

With Wiese at the helm, the company made some audacious acquisitions. He acquired Ackermans, a clothing chain, in 1986. Subsequently, Pepkor listed its clothing interests on the JSE as Pep Limited and its food interests as Shoprite Holdings Limited. In 1991 Pepkor made four additional acquisitions. The company acquired the retail chains Smart Group Holdings, Cashbuild, Checkers and Stuttafords and in the same year, Wiese led the company to open its first retail outlet in Scotland.

Today, Pepkor is a renowned South Africa-based retail investment holding company with stores in 10 countries in Africa, as well as operations in Australia and Poland. The group owns a diverse portfolio of retail outlets centered on the low-price market, primarily selling textiles, clothing and footwear. Its main operating subsidiaries are Pep and Ackermans in South Africa and Best & Less in Australia, all based on a high volume/lower margin business model. The group has some 2,800 stores and employs almost 28,000 people.


Wiese has been the engineer of all this growth, and has reaped some handsome financial dividends in the long run. He is widely acknowledged as one of the richest men in Africa today. His combined interests in Pepkor and Shoprite- the continent’s largest retailer are currently worth $2.4 billion.

In addition to retail, the mogul has been involved with several other companies and sits on numerous corporate boards. Apart from serving as chairman of Pepkor, Shoprite and Tulca, he is on the board of South African media giant Primedia and financial services firm PSG Group Ltd.

Wiese is 70, but he says he’s not prepared to step aside anytime soon. “I believe I am good for another five to seven years,” he said last year during an interview with South Africa’s Moneyweb. Wiese’s eldest son, Jacob, 30, is part of the company’s key management staff and will look after the family’s interests in the company when Wiese retires.

Business aside, Wiese has been one of Africa’s most vocal economic optimists. Last year, he voiced his thoughts in an opinion article in Ernst & Young’s 2011 Africa attractiveness survey: “I’m extremely positive about investment in Africa. Africa has a wonderful climate, wonderful people and amazing possibilities. Africa has been called dark and hopeless, but today it is neither of these. Africa is awakening. It’s a huge market of almost a billion people with huge resources and a young population. It’s the best place to invest.”

Wiese has seen his own fair share of troubles, too. The South African billionaire is currently facing a legal battle to recover more than $1 million in cash that was seized from him in 2009 by British customs officials. Wiese had been carrying the cash in his personal hand luggage while attempting to board a flight from England to Luxembourg.

A British judge ordered that the money be seized on the suspicion that it was the proceeds of crime, but according to the Daily Mail, Wiese and his lawyers have explained that the money was part of profits from diamond deals in South Africa in the 80s and 90s and had been kept in a safety deposit box in the Ritz hotel because of foreign exchange restrictions in his homeland.

The case is still in court.

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Tope Lawani Helios


From his London office, Tope Lawani (MBA 1995) is taking a lead role in developing financial services, telecom, media, consumer goods, and power generation in his homeland.

Tope Lawani (MBA 1995) is a man on a mission—make that two missions, actually. The cofounder and managing partner of London-based Helios Investments, Lawani says his firm aims to reward investors with "attractive, risk-adjusted returns that at the same time contribute to socioeconomic development."

"I want to demonstrate that in Africa we're no different from anybody else in any fundamental way," Lawani elaborates. "We're just at a different point in our development. There's no reason that we can't apply to Africa the tools that have gotten the rest of the world to where it is."

To achieve that transformation, Lawani believes, investment in the continent is the key. More specifically, Lawani notes, "Any investments we make that promote financial inclusion—especially that help bring folks into the financial-services world of banks, credit, and savings—we think are particularly pro-development."

Founded in 2004, Helios has a number of prominent investors, including George Soros, Madeleine Albright, Jacob Rothschild, and David Bonderman. That's due in no small measure to Helios's success and to Lawani's star power: in addition to his MBA, he holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from MIT and a JD from Harvard Law School. His résumé also includes stints at Disney and the Texas Pacific Group.

With some $2 billion invested in more than 30 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, Helios's focus is mainly in financial services, telecom, media, consumer goods, and power generation. Asked to describe an investment that shows the Helios paradigm at work, Lawani, who divides his time equally between London and Africa, points to Kenya.

"Several years ago," he explains, "we invested in a bank called Equity Bank that specializes in providing financial services to the previously 'unbanked' at the bottom of the pyramid. Equity Bank has increased financial inclusion while generating good returns for our investors. In five years, Equity's customer base—its depositors— has increased from about 2 million to 7 million; in Kenya today, some 6 out of every 10 bank accounts are held in Equity Bank. It has the largest ATM network in the country and the best mobile banking service, reaching a large and geographically dispersed customer base. We believe Equity is an example of an investment that has had a meaningful impact on a national scale."

Another interesting activity, Lawani says, has been Helios's acquisition from multinationals of African businesses that, because of changes in strategy or focus by the parent company, have become "non-core" operations and thus essentially orphaned. Examples include Helios's purchase of Africa's largest outdoor advertising company from Independent News & Media, an Ireland-based media company that decided to focus on the United Kingdom, and Shell's downstream fuel business (e.g., gas stations, commercial fuels, aviation, marine) as Shell moves out of smaller countries.

Asked about his experience at HBS, Lawani says, "The School's environment encourages you to dream bigger, to realize that more is possible. I knew I wanted to assist in Africa's development, but HBS helped add much greater clarity as to how I would actually go about doing that.

"I'm too young and too engaged in my work to think much about the years ahead," he continues, "but I realize I may want to do something quite different in the future to work on behalf of Africa and its people. What's important to me now is to feel that I'm using all the gifts I've been given to the fullest."


Karel Alois Strnad - Founder of Bata Zimbabwe

Karel Alois Strnad

(1910 – 1956)

Born in Vienna, Austria, of Czech parents. 
As was his wife, Marie Františka Trpáková.

And here is the story, how they had met each other and later the phenomenon of Bata as well:

1920’s 
The families of both moved to Prague, within a few years of one another. They did not know each other at that time; they met while studying at the University.

1930s
Karel completed a degree in Business Management in Praha. Marie – a degree in Arts. When he began working for Bata, they moved to Zlin. She taught school children.

1937
Karel and Marie married in Zlin.

1938
Karel was chosen, along with other executives and management people, to leave Czechoslovakia and start Bata companies in other countries. They went first to Holland, then to Southern Rhodesia.

Karel was in Durban, South Africa, for a short while. Then went to Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia. His wife, pregnant at the time, followed.

Their first home was on 6th Street in Gwelo, a major residential suburb.

Karel Strnad, as Managing Director, started the Bata Company in an existing facility, an old factory, with its own old buildings, about 6 miles outside and to the west of Gwelo.

May 1938. First son, John Frank Rhodes Strnad, was born.

Scan0002-Crop-KarelStrnad+.jpg
1940:
Second child, Hana Libuse, born in September.

1941
During these early years, Karel battled to get the right equipment for Bata. He managed to get machinery and sewing machines sent from Czechoslovakia on the Morava. It docked at Beira, and the machinery was sent by rail to Gwelo. (There was a very good rail-train system in those days – not so anymore)



1942
Third child, Jarmila Rhoda, was born in March.

1945 – 46
Karel planned the new Bata executive office, the factory sheds, and the residential at Moffat – also on the outskirts of Gwelo, but to the North. He named it Moffat, no one knows why, but he was very taken with Southern Rhodesia – he came to love it dearly and he also named his first son after Cecil John Rhodes.

He supervised all the building at Moffat. 
He also planned Bata’s move from old location to new.

VadronoviLod-666.jpg
1946
Bata moved from its first location to the new Bata compound at Moffat. ExecutJive/Administrative office was a long box-like building, with two or three stories.

The residential part of Moffat was in one area. There were single-family homes; tennis courts, swimming pools, a cricket field, children’s nursery, food store, Club House, gardens, etc.

The production part was in another area. It consisted of a number of long sheds or buildings, each dedicated to a specific activity.

One was for leather tanning.

Another set of sheds was for drying. The tanned leather pieces were hung on long ropes. These were made from sisal (cactus) plants, which grew abundantly in the area. The natives cut the long sisal palm leaves, stripped them and hand-spun the pulpy strings into long, very strong cords.

Another shed was where the leather was ‘cured’ or softened, and sometimes pounded in some way, a softening procedure. This is also where leather was polished.

John remembers that there were several sheds where the finished leather pieces were stored, laid flat one on top of the other, according to color.

Another shed was where the leather was cut into “lasts,” the various shapes used to make shoes. 
Then there were two or three sewing sheds. 
Plus a packaging store, and a finished goods store.

In the early years, factory produced only men’s shoes, in black and brown leather. This was to get production going, and also because it did not have all equipment needed that time.

After the move to Moffat, Karel drove to Limuru in Kenya, where there was a smaller Bata Shoe Company, to help them. They all went, father, mother, and three children, in their old Desoto car.

Limuru was, at that time, a small town in the Kenyan highlands. They travelled through (then) Nyasaland, Tanganyika, and onto Nairobi, Kenya, then Limuru. Along the way they went through Lilongwe, Dodoma, and Arusha (in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro).

After he worked with the Limuru Managing Director for some time, he drove family back to Rhodesia through Northern Rhodesia, through Broken Hill, Mbeya, Serenje Corner, among others.

Scan0001-Crop-Strnadovi.jpg
Other Czech executives at Bata at that time were Jan Kubic; Antonin Kasperlik and his wife Helen, and their two small daughters and Frank Fisher – he had a daughter called Nadia.

May 1946. A fourth child, a daughter, was born to Strnads, Jana Maria.

1948
Thomas Bata flew from the Bata Head Office to Southern Rhodesia. He stayed at Strnads’ house in Moffat. Children remember him only as a tall stranger, who came and stared at them – smile. Mr. Bata stayed for a week. He and Karel had many conferences at the Bata Offices, as well as with other executives. Marie had several dinner parties for many people that week in their home.

By this year, men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes were being produced, as well as canvas shoes, in all colors, including suede and patent (shiny) leather.

June. Karel flew to Bata in Europe on business.

July. Marie and the four children went by boat, named “Toscana,” to Genoa, Italy.

Hana and John, after so many years, remember:
We had our car with us on the ship. We motored into Switzerland, stayed at Interlaken. Then Dad, mother and John went to England for the Olympic Games. Hana and Jarmila and Jana stayed in Interlaken, with Polish nurse. In August Mother drove the four children via Austria to Czechoslovakia (via Innsbruck and Linz). We stayed with Dad’s parents in Prague. His father was a carpenter.
After we were there three weeks, Mother was called into one of the Government offices; she was warned to get the children into schools, as she was Czech. This was at the same time that the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Masaryk was suddenly called to Moscow.
Dad’s father, Grandfather Strnad, saw into what was happening, warned mother to leave and we did – within 24 hours. John remembers mother racing for the border. She drove us back to Switzerland. Within three days after crossing that border the Iron Curtain came down. John remembers mother being devastated, as her parents were back in Czechoslovakia. 
Then we all flew, with mother, back to Rhodesia via flying boat, on the way landing at Alexandria, Khartoum, Entebbe and finally Victoria Falls and Gwelo. Our car was left in Europe.”

1949
Karel continued working for Bata into mid – 1949. Then in June – July. Karel left Bata. Children do not know specifics. Then he sold shoes in Northern Rhodesia and the Congo for several months; he was on the road continually. He may have been freelancing.

Towards end of 1949. he joined Rudwell’s in Bulaway, South Rhodesia, and worked for them for six years. They were a chain of retail suppliers; supplying small businesses, white and black, in the Federation (Southern and Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland), as well as East Africa, the Congo, and other countries, with foods, shoes, and other goods.

1956
Feb: He joined Bagshaw and Gibaud, a large shoe manufacturer, in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, as Managing Director until his (accidental) death in 1964 in Port Elizabeth.

Thanks to the Hana Strnad/Whitfield & John Strnad, children of Karel A. Strnad, this text has been prepared as the very first issue of the coming English mirror of the Czech Bata Story.
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Tony Yengeni ANC South Africa

Tony Sithembiso Yengeni has come a long way since his early years as a popular anti-apartheid struggle activist and street fighter.

The corpulent chief whip of the ruling African National Congress is well-known in parliament and political circles for his smart dressing. He sports designer suits from Cape Town's most exclusive boutiques, and his expensive tastes are reflected in his lifestyle.


What kind of man uses a wet bag repeatedly and listens to those cries and moans and takes each of those people close to their deaths?


Tony Yengeni
It was not always so. Born in Cape Town in 1954, Tony Yengeni grew up to become a supporter of the black consciousness movement under the leadership of Steve Biko before joining the outlawed ANC in 1976.

In the wake of the Soweto student uprising and the subsequent government crackdown on anti-apartheid organisations, Mr Yengeni went into temporary exile as a member of the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe.

Arrested

He went for military training in ANC camps in Botswana, Zambia and Angola before studying for a social science diploma in Moscow.

Upon his return to Southern Africa, he became the regional secretary for the South African Council of Trade Unions, based in Lesotho.

 Tony Yengeni (Pic: Sunday Times of South Africa)
Luxury cars are now known as "Yengenis" 

He was appointed by the ANC as leader of its armed wing in the Western Cape, but almost as soon as he returned to the Cape he was arrested by the National Party government in 1987 and spent four years in prison while awaiting trial for terrorism.

During his detention, Yengeni was tortured by former anti-terrorist squad policeman Jeffrey Benzien, who subsequently boasted to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission that he had perfected his "wetbag" interrogatory torture method, guaranteed to produce results in under 30 minutes.

It was one of the most mesmerising moments of the Truth Commission hearings when Mr Benzien re-enacted this method, using his former victim, Tony Yengeni, for the benefit of the Commissioners and the public.

Furious

The "wetbag" method consisted of placing a wet canvas bag over the head of the detainee's head and then tightening the bag at their throat, threatening to suffocate them time and again until they confessed.

In his cross-questioning of Mr Benzien, Mr Yengeni asked: "What kind of man uses a wet bag repeatedly and listens to those cries and moans and takes each of those people close to their deaths - what kind of human being is that?"

Mr Benzien's mild response was: "I have asked myself that question. I have approached psychiatrists to have myself evaluated".

Not all of Mr Benzien's victims lived to tell the tale, or interrogate the man who had tortured and humiliated them.

Mr Yengeni was publicly furious when his torturer was granted amnesty by the Truth Commission.

Indemnity

Mr Yengeni was never successfully prosecuted by the apartheid state and was finally granted indemnity as part of the political transition process in 1991.

On his release from prison he became general secretary of the ANC in the Western Cape, and briefly engaged in the race to lead the party in the region before it was decided that the ANC's interests would be better served by a mixed-race or "coloured" leader, as the coloured population forms the majority in the province. He dropped out of the race.


Whatever happens there will be blood on the floor

Tony Yengeni

Tony Yengeni cultivated a militant leadership style, joining other ANC populists like Winnie Madikizela Mandela and ANC youth leader Peter Mokaba to whip up support for the ANC in the lead-up to the 1994 elections.

He was characterised as one of the ANC's young lions and after the elections was rewarded for his dedication and hard work with the influential position as chair of parliament's Joint Standing Committee for Defence - the body which plays a key role in decisions relating to South Africa's arms purchases.

'Fat cat'

He was also subsequently appointed the ANC's chief whip in parliament, a role he has relished, and has carried out diligently.

 South-African built Rooivalk CSH2 Armed Attack Helicopter 
South Africa wanted to modernise its military

When Tony Yengeni first started driving around Cape Town in 1998 in his state-of-the-art dark green Mercedes Benz ML320 4x4 with its tinted windows and plush beige upholstery, there was the usual ribald comment in the media about "fat cats on the gravy train".

Then rumours started circulating in parliament that Mr Yengeni had received the car as a gift.

It was not until opposition member of parliament Patricia de Lille raised queries about kick-backs and corruption linked to the government's controversial R43 billion ($5 billion) arms procurement deal in late 1999, that Mr Yengeni's name was mentioned for the first time.

Full-page advert

In March, South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper exposed how Tony Yengeni had received a generous discount on his Mercedes Benz from an arms manufacturing company which had benefited directly from the arms deal.

He initially refused to testify to parliament's Ethics Committee which requires members to disclose all assets, saying he was not legally obliged to do so.

He called the Sunday Times articles "hogwash" and told a press conference that he was not going to be subjected to a "witchunt" by the media. "Whatever happens there will be blood on the floor" he threatened, resorting to the language of the struggle.

 Yengeni is being charged with corruption, fraud, perjury and forgery
Yengeni is being charged with corruption, fraud, perjury and forgery

In a curious about-turn, in July this year, Yengeni took out a full-page advertisement in every South African Sunday newspaper, except the Sunday Times.

This was estimated to have cost the chief whip R250 000. In it, Mr Yengeni defends his vehicle purchase, calling the unjustified attacks on him "racist" and "McCarthyist".

But South Africa's townships, a luxury 4 wheel drive or a Mercedes is now referred to as a "Yengeni".




Now it is not the South African media that Tony Yengeni will be answering to, but South Africa's Commercial Criminal court on charges of corruption, fraud, statutory perjury and forgery.




Revealed: Yengeni's R6-million 'kickback' agreement


A raid on a German company has revealed a record of a deal signed by ANC heavyweight Tony Yengeni when he headed Parliament's defence committee.
 Tony Yengeni has made a career out of hawking his connections. (David Harrison, M&G)
ANC luminary Tony Yengeni signed a R6-million bribe agreement with an arms bidder when he headed Parliament's joint standing committee on defence in 1995, ­German detectives have reported.

The detectives said that they found a copy of the agreement when they raided ThyssenKrupp, the German engineering conglomerate which led the consortium that sold four patrol corvettes to South Africa for R6.9-billion.

Yengeni, a struggle stalwart and member of the ANC's national executive committee, this week refused to confirm or deny the allegation. "I've got nothing to say on all you're ­saying," he said.

The latest allegation significantly adds to evidence that the main contracts in the controversial arms deal were tainted by corruption, contradicting a 2001 finding by the multi-agency joint investigation team that subcontracts, at most, were affected.

Bribery is grounds for cancelling the multibillion-rand contracts for trainer and fighter jets, corvettes, submarines and helicopters that the government entered into at the turn of the century.

The government, perhaps fearful of the international repercussions, has resisted such a conclusion. But Judge Willie Seriti's arms procurement commission, which starts public hearings in August, will face a barrage of new evidence to that effect.

The Mail & Guardian has previously revealed how British multinational BAE Systems, which supplied the jets, paid roughly R200-million to Fana Hlongwane, who was the late defence minister Joe Modise's adviser when the arms deal was negotiated.



It has also reported how Thyssen ­allegedly reached a $3-million (about R18-million then) bribe agreement with Chippy Shaik, then head of defence procurement.

Last month the Sunday Times alleged that BAE bankrolled the late Stella Sigcau's daughter when she studied in London. Sigcau, then public enterprises minister, served on the Cabinet subcommittee that made key arms procurement decisions.

The new allegations are unrelated to Yengeni's fraudulent cover-up of a discount he received on a luxury vehicle from another arms bidder, for which he was briefly jailed in 2006.

Raids and a find
German investigators raided ThyssenKrupp's Düsseldorf headquarters in 2006 after tax authorities became suspicious of payments made in the course of the South African arms deal.

AmaBhungane has seen correspondence in which detectives involved in the investigation discuss some of the evidence found.

Among the gems in the haul was an agreement allegedly signed by Yengeni and Christoph Hoenings, an executive of Thyssen Rheinstahl Technik, a ThyssenKrupp predecessor company.

Hoenings was a key protagonist in the Thyssen-led German Frigate Consortium's campaign to sell the corvettes to South Africa.




Allegedly concluded when Hoenings visited South Africa in September 1995, the agreement promised Yengeni 2.5-million deutschmark (R6-million then) on conclusion of the campaign to sell the corvettes to South Africa.

Hoenings, who has since left Thyssen, this week refused to comment, saying from Düsseldorf: "I do not speak to the press, please understand this, thank you."

Men of influence

Hoenings's online profile on business networking website Xing.com, however, is unabashed about his use of political connectivity to land contracts.

It says he offers "years of experience as a sales director for exports in shipbuilding/marine", "strong contacts with political parties and well-connected individuals in a number of developing and emerging countries", and "creativity in the development of marketing strategies for obtaining foreign government contracts".

The profile offers the "use of my personal network by interested third parties" – perhaps not unlike Yengeni, whose LinkedIn profile describes him as an "independent government relations professional".

During the South African corvette campaign, Hoenings worked closely with Tony Georgiadis, the London-based shipping magnate who made a seamless transition from supplying apartheid South Africa with embargo-busting crude oil to being best friends with the top echelons of former president Thabo Mbeki's ANC.

Georgiadis appears to have been brought aboard as an agent by the Germans after Christmas Eve 1994, when all seemed lost. That day, Armscor, the state arms procurement agency, had announced the shortlisting of shipyards from Spain and Britain to supply corvettes, eliminating bids from Germany, Denmark and France.

But Thabo Mbeki, then deputy president, travelled to Germany the next month, allegedly to reassure officials.

Hoenings himself was quoted in the Weekend Argus as saying that Mbeki had told him and the German foreign minister that "the race is still open to all contenders".

In May 1995, Cabinet put a hold on the corvette acquisition pending a "defence review", among other things to determine the ideal force design of the post-apartheid defence force.

The corvette tender process was started afresh in late 1997 as part of a comprehensive "strategic defence procurement" of jets, ships, ­submarines and helicopters.

Enter Yengeni

Yengeni was well placed to assist the Germans during this precarious time when the South Africans were reconsidering their needs.

In Parliament, he was ANC chief whip and chair of the joint standing committee on defence. He also later served on the defence review, held under the auspices of the department of defence.

Yengeni allegedly signed the agreement with Hoenings on September 11 1995. The German detectives' correspondence details some corroborating evidence.

Hoenings' travel claims, they said, showed him meeting Yengeni and Georgiadis in South Africa on the day the agreement was allegedly signed.

After his return to Germany, Hoenings entered a provision for the 2.5-million deutschmark in Thyssen Rheinstahl accounts.

At the time, foreign bribery was not illegal in Germany. It was, in fact, tax-deductible, meaning there was no need to disguise such actions internally.

The provision was removed when Thyssen Rheinstahl and Krupp merged two years later and investigators found no indication in the accounts that the money was paid.

The detectives thought it likely, however, that Yengeni ultimately received the money by indirect means.

Switzerland

Certainly, the contact continued as the defence review unfolded. Hoenings's travel claims specified another four sets of meetings in 1996 and 1997 involving him, Yengeni and Georgiadis.

One set of meetings was in Germany and two were in Switzerland the final one in Zurich in November 1997, two months after the corvette tender, ultimately won by the Germans, was reopened.

Also found, the detectives said, was a claim by Georgiadis for the air fare for Yengeni's first visit to Zurich. Georgiadis allegedly faxed Hoenings the travel agent's invoice, with the note: "The attached for your 'confidential' file (in case he [Yengeni] ever denies having come)."

Georgiadis said this week: "I really, really have no comment whatsoever to make on anything regarding that, okay … I know nothing about it [the bribe agreement]."

German authorities abandoned their investigation of Thyssen in 2008, apparently after reaching a tax settlement. They did not prosecute corruption, in part because it was difficult to prove that any of Thyssen's actions continued after foreign ­bribery was outlawed.

A ThyssenKrupp spokesperson said on Thursday: "The issues related to your request were duly investigated by German authorities. These investigations have been [settled] without any findings."

Full circle

In 2011 there was an outcry when it was discovered that then-defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu had appointed Yengeni to a committee to conduct a new defence review, despite his conviction for the luxury car cover up.

Sisulu insisted in parliamentary answers to the Democratic Alliance that Yengeni had "paid his dues by serving a prison sentence and was released from custody".

At a media briefing she said: "I chose him to be a member of the committee because of the role he played in the first review.

"He has the necessary background of how we've come to be where we are."

Commission seeks evidence from Germany

Judge Willie Seriti's arms procurement commission on Thursday confirmed it was aware of the allegedly explosive nature of the evidence found by German authorities and said it was trying to secure it.

Commission spokesperson William Baloyi said: "We are aware of the many statements from a var-iety of sources within South Africa to the effect that the German investigators have uncovered massive evidence implicating various

people and entities in wrongdoing … We have been communicating with the German authorities to secure such evidence and are still awaiting their final response. Obviously the interactions with [them] are of a sensitive nature and we can therefore not comment further."

The commission will start public hearings in August.  

* Got a tip-off for us about this story? Email amabhungane@mg.co.za

Gary Lubner Belron International Limited

The windscreen repair boss who has cracked it. Autoglass is the UK's leading car-glass repair service. We meet the publicity-shy man driving the growth.

Smashing success: Gary Lubner’s Belron windscreen repair firm achieved €2.8bn worth of sales last year
Smashing success: Gary Lubner’s Belron windscreen repair firm achieved €2.8bn worth of sales last year
Not many businesses have a theme tune. But then not many serve 11 million people a year and complete a job every three seconds, 365 days a year.
Gary Lubner's Belron is the world's largest vehicle-glass repair and replacement company. The firm's UK brand, Autoglass, is one of the nation's most well-known names, partly due to its catchy advertising jingle "Autoglass repair Autoglass replace" - more on that later. There is more to Belron than just a memorable melody.
The group is a family-run business, established more than 100 years ago in South Africa. Mr Lubner's grandfather Morrie was one of the founders and grew the firm in South Africa, before his sons Ronnie - Gary's father - and Bertie took over. Ronnie moved the business out of South Africa in the 1970s. He remains on the board as life chairman.
An accountant, Gary Lubner started at Belron in the 1980s in South Africa, following a stint at top firm Arthur Andersen. He moved to the UK in 1988 to study at the London Business School before joining the company's British arm in 1991 to grow the business in Europe. He became managing director of Autoglass three years later.

An "early claim to fame", he says, was the company's successful sponsorship of Chelsea Football Club for four years - despite being a West Ham fan. He became chief executive of the whole Belron group in 2000.
Under his leadership, Belron has trebled in size, employing 25,000 people and operational in 33 countries. Last year, it achieved €2.8 billion worth of sales (£2.5 billion), up 16 per cent on 2009. It buys eight million pieces of vehicle glass a year - only Toyota buys more windscreens. The company has fixed around 200 million pieces of glass.
But statistics are not everything to the unassuming Mr Lubner, who rarely gives interviews. He places great emphasis on customer service. "It's really important to us - as are our people - making sure they are well-trained, engaged and have all the equipment necessary to deliver a great service."
And of course, extreme weather conditions also help. "We love very cold weather or very hot weather. People are driving round with small chips in their windscreens all the time. When it gets cold, ice gets in, expands and cracks, or when it's hot, the air conditioning is turned on and the difference in temperature causes a crack."
Besides, surely Belron does not suffer in downturns in the same way other companies do? "We are not a cyclical business but we are not recession proof either. In the boom time, things don't really get much better for us." There are also oil prices to consider. "Prices going up means that people will drive less and people driving less means less opportunity for a stone to fly up and break their windscreen. This has an impact on business."
Also having a significant effect on business - albeit more positively - is their renowned advertising jingle. Starting in Belgium eight years ago, within two years the advert was running in 20 countries. It is the same in every one but featuring a local technician and different brand name.
He says: "The jingle, which I know irritates a lot of people because they hear it so much, has been extremely powerful. I love that my son hears it being sung by his friends because it's catchy.
"There is no question that it has driven growth in all our countries. We can see a direct effect of our advertising on our brand awareness." Just as well. Belron spends £150 million worldwide a year on it. Their advertising budget has doubled over the past few years. "If you have effective advertising, you should be increasing it," he says.
Autoglass rivals include National Windscreens and more recently, the AA, but the Belron group as a whole remains relatively unchallenged. Their main competitor, Auto Windscreens, recently went into receivership. But Mr Lubner, who travels every week for work, is not getting complacent. He is keen to expand both new and existing markets - they recently entered China and Russia.
Despite the global expansion and being majority-owned by Belgium company D'Ieteren, the company's family roots are still very much reflected in the business, not least in the name, which is after Gary's grandmother 'Bella' and father 'Ronnie'. Mr Lubner explains: "The initial plan was to name it after my father Ronnie and grandfather Morrie. But when we put those two together, it came out as 'moron'. We thought that wasn't such a good idea."
He places great emphasis on corporate responsibility. "It's an inherent part of our values. My family were always very charitable and we believe that an organisation has an obligation to the communities they service. I am passionate about tikkun olam and Jewish charities reaching out."
For the past ten years, Belron employees have participated in the London Triathlon to raise money for MaAfrika Tikkun, a South African charity co-founded by Mr Lubner's uncle Bertie that provides support to vulnerable children. Last year, 900 Belron employees from 18 countries raised £600,000. It was the largest corporate entry into any sports event in the world. Mr Lubner is hoping for 1,000 participants this year.
So, has Mr Lubner, a member of Alyth Gardens Synagogue in north London, ever used his company's service? Yes, when his car was broken into outside his Hampstead home.

Cuthbert Dube Zimbabwe Millionaire

CUTHBERT DUBE














 Cuthbert Dube  LETS LOOK AT THE PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO OF A MAN WITH THE OBSCENE US $230 000 MONTHLY SALARY
The CEO - Dr C. E. Dube
Dr Cuthbert Dube is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Premier Service Medical Aid and Premier Service Medical Investments (Pvt) Ltd.
Dr Dube holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration and a Doctorate in Business Administration.
Before he joined P.S.M.A.S he was the first black person to be appointed Chief Accountant of Shell Zimbabwe.
Over the years, Dr Dube has been recognized both nationally and internationally through the conferment of the following prestigious awards:-
1. Manager of the year award from the Zimbabwe Institute of Management - (2002).
2. Second Runner-up to Manager of the Decade from the Zimbabwe Institute of Management - (2003).
3. Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Business Practice from a Geneva-based Institute (Switzerland) - (2004).
4. Business man of the year Award conferred on him by the National Chamber of Commerce in Zimbabwe in 2006
5. International Quality Award (Gold Category) from Business Initiative Directors, New York, USA - (2008).
6. International Golden Award for Quality and Business Prestige from a Berlin –based Institute (Germany) - (2009).
7. International Star for Quality Award from a Geneva- based Institute (Switzerland) - (2010).
8. Global Award for Perfection, Quality and Ideal Performance conferred on him in Berlin, Germany in 2010
9. Majestic Five Continents Award for Quality and Excellence conferred on him in Rome, Italy in 2011.
10. Diamond Award conferred on him on 28 May 2012 in New York, United States of America.
The significance of all these awards are reflected by the fact that Dr Dube took over an organization with 100,000 members, and it now stands at a membership of well over 630,000. The organization continued growing while going through the economic hardships the country went through right up to dollarization.
Dr Dube also sits on and chairs the following boards:
1. West End Hospital (Pvt) Ltd Chairman
2. Claybank Private Hospital (Pvt) Ltd Chairman
3. Shashi Private Hospital (Pvt) Ltd Chairman
4. PSMI Clinical Laboratories Chairman
5. PSMI Medical and Dental Clinics (Pvt) Ltd Chairman
6. PSMI Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd Chairman
7. Healthshield Medical Services (Zambia) (Pvt) Ltd Chairman
8. Premier Service Medical Aid Society(Zambia) (Pvt) Ltd Chairman
9. Zimbabwe Brain Tumor Association Chairman
10. Groombridge Residents Association Chairman
11. Jongwe Printing and Publishing Co. (Pvt) Ltd Chairman
12. The People’ s voice Newspaper Chairman
13. Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation(ZBC) Chairman
14. Zimbabwe Football Association(ZIFA) President
15. Surbaban Medical Centre Board Member
16. Simon V Muzenda Scholarship Foundation Treasurer
17. Jairos Jiri Association (for the disabled) Patron
18. Harare Union of Journalists Patron
19. Confederation of African Football(CAF) Committee Member
20. FIFA Committee Member
Dr Dube is 58 years old.
Besides his P.S.M.A.S role he is also the President of the Zimbabwe Football Association and is a keen follower of the beautiful game.
He sponsors a football tournament for both men and women, dedicated to the memory of his late wife, Slyvia.
CUTHBERT Dube, the sacked Premier Service Medical Aid Society group chief executive officer, retired late last year but was immediately re-employed on a contract basis and with a raft of benefits that indicate he could have earned well more than the reported US$6 million per annum.

A well-placed source yesterday revealed more details of Dube’s salary and benefits.
“His new contract was supposed to last for the next 10 years,” said the source.

Dube was to get a lump sum payment of $500,000 every five years as a loyalty bonus and PSMAS was to buy him a house worth at least $500,000 when he retired.

He had travel allowances averaging US$48,000 per trip regardless of the destination, and a further $17,000 for his partner. They would both fly first class.

Dube was paid sitting allowances by the board and for 13 other committees that he sat on, netting him around $32,000 every month. These committees included those for audit, benefits, constitution, procurement, finance and budget.
In 2013, Dube got $40,000 per week for three months for his medical treatment.
Further, he got free groceries, unlimited fuel, unlimited hotel stay and free medical aid cover every month, on top of his salary.
In addition, he was given a 20 percent stake in both PSMAS and its subsidiary, Premier Service Medical Investments (Pvt) Ltd.

He also had two guards at his two residential houses for 24 hours, two maids, two gardeners, two chefs and two drivers. All these were paid for by PSMAS.

Sources said several executives also had slightly lower benefits.
The organisation has eight executives who earned not less than $60,000 each per month.

“The salaries, allowances and benefits are way beyond the Zimbabwean economy,” one source said. “What is really bad is that PSMAS is failing to meet its obligation of paying service providers on behalf of their members.”

Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said yesterday that they were still looking into affairs at PSMAS.
“We’re doing everything that we can to make sure sanity prevails at PSMAS for the benefit not only of the society’s members, but the country at large,” he said.

PSMI managing director Dr Farai Muchena has taken over as acting CEO at PSMAS, while Luckson Zembe was appointed substantive board chair.

The board has reduced the salaries of all executives, but the group CEO will still get $60,000 monthly – down from Dube’s $230,000.

Cuthbert Dube
Position: former PSMAS CEO
Stated Salary: US$530 000
What has he done while earning that salary?:
Under Dube’s tenure Premier Service Medical Aid Society expanded its portfolio to create PMSI which saw the giant society acquire many properties around the country and offer its own medical services, from the basic to specialist care.
But somewhere along the line, he seems to have lost the plot as he started concentrating on his soccer administration role at the expense and detriment of PSMAS.
By the time of his removal, many of the society’s clients were unhappy with the service they were receiving. Those who were not lucky enough to be near a PSMI service provider risked being turned away by the service providers who were owed almost $50 million by PSMAS.
Wheels:
As part of his fleet, Dube boasts of a 2013 model Range Rover Evoque with a price of tag of about US$110 000 and a Land Cruiser V8 which cost around US$90 000. Parked at his homestead yesterday were two low slung sports cars whose make, ownership and other details remain unknown. But they sure did look pricey.

Residence: Dube resides in an imposing double storey house in Groombridge behind an all screening pre-cast wall. The huge pile is still being guarded by uniformed PSMAS security officers.
Personal Style:
Cuthbert Dube dresses his age in boring suits and plain shirts. But he seems to be a host par excellence with many political luminaries said to be regular partakers at his table.
Interesting tidbits:
Cuthbert Dube flew to Nigeria to consult TB Joshua. He is said to have lost the use of his lower limbs which was restored by the prophet’s healing.


Perhaps due to the deliverance or to the overriding health problems, those in the know say the man who used to be a partaker of fine liquor is now a teetotaller.
The bar at his former office at PSMAS headquarters along George Silundika is said to have felt that conversion as all alcohol immediately disappeared from the scene.
But he is said to be still a very good friend to some high-ups who have been presented with bottles of the best.

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