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Christo Wiese was peerless in this respect until his seduction by Markus Jooste, star of Steinheist, whose staggered release concluded yesterday. The full three hours are now available for binge-watching on Showmax. The producers pulled some memorable Wiese quotes. Here they are:
On whether he knows how wealthy he is, within the closest billion
I have no idea because my experience has been that generally people who know how much they’re worth are not worth a hell of a lot.
On getting rich vs staying rich
There’s getting rich… Easy. Staying rich? Much more difficult.
On his reaction to the Steinhoff crash
When I looked myself in the mirror after the terrible news from Steinhoff, I decided I will have to find clear guideposts to get through this one. Number one: I don’t mourn the loss of money, because money you make, you can lose and you can try to make again. Secondly, I count my blessings. And thirdly, I’m not going to become a bitter person, because nobody wants bitter people around them.
On owning wine farms, and selling Lanzerac to Markus Jooste for Steinhoff shares
I always tell people, one wine estate is one too many… To have two is close to a nightmare.
On Markus Jooste’s alleged affair
I don’t want to sound like a goody two-shoes, but that’s a no-no… For a CEO to have an affair known to his subordinates is a no-no. I fired at least two senior executives because of that. Because you lose the trust of the people that report to you. If he could lie to his wife of 40 odd years every day, why wouldn’t he lie to me? You know that can’t be tolerated.
On the aftermath of the tax raid before Steinhoff’s listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
When that raid happened, the board of Steinhoff appointed one of the largest forensic investigator firms in Germany to interrogate every one of the allegations made. They still gave me a report, and the board, that it’s all nonsense: Jooste’s version is the truth… Again, the Jooste black magic… It’s the only explanation. Because these people had never done business with Steinhoff. There was no relationship.
On being told by Deloitte that Steinhoff’s management had been defrauding the company for years
I said, ‘But you guys are crazy. What are you talking about?’ And they gave me their six points that they queried, and I looked at it. I said, ‘But you signed off on all these points last year, and for the previous 15 years. Where does this come from?’.
On confronting Markus Jooste after the meeting with Deloitte
I said, ‘These people say you are a fraud and a crook.’ And he said, ‘On what basis?’ I said, ‘Well, you know, these six points.’ He gave the auditors such an explanation in half an hour, that they changed their entire tone. And he said he’s going to Germany, he will return on Monday, and he will satisfy them. He will clear everything up…
On whether he sees Steinhoff as the biggest mistake of his otherwise stellar career
It is the biggest mistake by a country mile… What it cost me in monetary terms, but what it cost also in reputational terms, it’s by a country mile the biggest mistake.
On Markus Jooste
Obviously, he is a very, very smart operator, and with nerves of steel. How do you do this for 15 years? And you have to get through all these gatekeepers? This isn’t a normal person. You’ve got to be an artist, knowing every button to push with every person.
On what the Steinhoff board should have done differently
There is no fool proof protection against a CEO who is a crook.
More for you to read today:
- How accusations of ‘arrogance’ gave cover to the ANC’s power grab in Joburg. Cilliers Brink says there is a great deal that remains unexplained about ActionSA and the PA’s behaviour.
- Ukraine Takes Unorthodox Pitch to Wall Street to Raise Billions in Debt. Officials who have negotiated international loans and a debt-payment holiday now hope to leverage foreign backing to help fund the war effort and reconstruction.
- Winning a Nobel Prize Takes Luck as Much as Talent. Are successful people talented or lucky? As it turns out, they have to be both.
- Rethinking the Origins of Inflammatory Diseases. Research on how the immune system can go wrong is changing the way medicine thinks about everything from Covid-19 to heart disease.
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Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.