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For months after Steinhoff’s December 2017 meltdown, many of former CEO Markus Jooste’s supporters stuck by their man. They swallowed his story that he was innocent, that allegations were trumped up. Indeed, Jooste’s pals, who continued to control South Africa’s horse racing industry, even saw to it that horses wearing the country’s long-time top owner continued to compete on the racetrack.
A trifecta of disclosures on Tuesday exposes the extent of their misguided loyalty. Having been delayed by PwC’s 14 month forensic investigation, the world finally got to see concrete evidence of Jooste’s chicanery with the release of Steinhoff’s financial results for the 12 months to end September 2017. They reveal an astonishing R65bn net loss fo the year – and also that just months before the meltdown, Jooste voted himself (and banked) some R30m in bonuses.
Adding insult to Jooste’s injury, on the same day as the 2017 results were released, SA’s Public Protector published a damning report into alleged abuses in the sport the former Steinhoff CEO and associates dominated for over a decade. The already sliding share price of JSE-listed Phumelela fell another 4% to a 15-year low on this latest blow.
Horse racing administration, and its leading personnel, looks to be in for some big changes. Just like Jooste’s lifestyle.
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