Pearls of wisdom from Christo Wiese

Losing money – any amount – is something no one wants to go through. Whether you’ve misplaced R100 or been swindled out of R50,000, it hurts. When Steinhoff fell from grace, many South Africans lost money.

Losing money – any amount is something no one wants to go through. Whether you’ve misplaced R100 or been swindled out of R50,000, it hurts. It happens everyday. Conmen deceive a little old lady into handing over her pension packet. Our wallet ends up in the washing machine. While the magnitude of pain differs with the amount, it’s still an unpleasant situation to be in.

When Steinhoff fell from grace, many South Africans lost money. Some a small investment, others their life savings. Thousands of small investors lost a lot of money through the fraud that ex-CEO Markus Jooste is currently embroiled in. By far the biggest loser in the scandal is Christo Wiese. The former Shoprite chairman lost a whopping R60bn in the debacle.

Losing R60bn is nothing to be sniffed at. One can imagine that Wiese would be bitter about this massive setback, but no.

Speaking to BizNews founder Alec Hogg, Wiese said ‘I had to look myself in the mirror. I saw 50 years of my work go up in smoke. I had to ask myself how I’m going to cope with it’.

While most people would contemplate revenge, various crutches or resentment, Wiese had other thoughts:

I decided on three principles. The first one is that I don’t mourn the loss of money. Money comes, money goes. Number two, I count my blessings. If that fraud had gone on for another year or two, I was going to lost a lot more. I was negotiating to sell some of my other assets into Steinhoff as well. I would have lost that as well.

The third decision I took was that I’m not going to become bitter about what had happened to me. Nobody has time for people who walk around bemoaning their fate and becoming bitter at the sort of betrayal that I and many other people have experienced in Steinhoff.

Wiese will be getting a payout of 18,7 cents in the rand to compensate for losses incurred with Steinhoff. ‘Other contractual claimants like myself, get a higher payout – up to 29 cents in the rand. That stems from the fact that I made substantial concessions in order to facilitate a settlement’.

Jooste has been charged with fraud in Germany, three years after he resigned from the company.

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