Right of Reply: Tambo Springs development does NOT include Steinhoff fraudster land

Willie Els, chairman of the Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway development, says numerous statements made on BizNews by Port of Gauteng developer Francois Nortje were inaccurate. Critically, he says the development does not incorporate the adjacent land that is owned by former Steinhoff executives. Francois Nortje has provided comment on the statement from Els.

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From Dr Willie Els, chairman of the Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway development

Dear Mr Hogg

We write to you as the owners of the Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway development and in response to the article and interview stated below:

Markus Jooste, Valumax, Mashatile —R5bn Tambo Springs joins corrupt dots. 28th August 2023 by Alec Hogg

There are two objectives to our letter:

  1. To set the record straight on many of the facts in your interview and article that were incorrectly published and have had an extremely defamatory effect on the Tambo Springs development and its brand.
  2. For BizNews to act with impartiality and objectivity and to hear the real story behind Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway (Tambo Springs). A story that spans over 24 years with the same owners and development team who continue to act with the utmost integrity and values despite the many obstacles and challenges of the industry and the South African Operating environment.

A few facts below that require clarification:

  • Tambo Springs Development Company (TSDC) owns 607ha on which the Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway development is planned. The adjacent land owned by Adv du Plessis is NOT part of Tambo Springs. The TSDC shareholders and owners of this land are private developers who acquired the land in the 1990’s. The property was originally earmarked for affordable housing. However, in order to meet the job creation objectives of the local council and address the logistics challenges of the country, the scheme was changed to focus on industrial usage. Nearly 1,5km of Transnet dual directional freight rail line, running along the northern edge of the site, gave rise to the opportunity to incorporate an optimal rail solution. A solution which TSDC has been trying to unlock for 14 years despite being continually exposed to the bureaucracy and corruption within Transnet and the government and erroneous, one-sided and libellous allegations by competing developers.
  • Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway is a registered trademark of TSDC and refers only to a portion of land measuring 607ha (not 2000ha as mentioned in your interviews). See the Dark orange in the attached diagram. There is no link, ownership, or relationship with any of the neighbouring landowners including the land indicated in yellow which is represented by Advocate Du Plessis.
  • Therefore, all the references in your interview to the size and location of the Tambo Springs project are incorrect. Also, any references made to Steinhof, Markus Jooste, Advocate Duplesis, Francois Becker or Danie Van der Merwe have absolutely no relevance or bearing on the Tambo Springs Project. There are also no links or relationships with any of the names mentioned in your interview with the staff and shareholders of TSDC.
  • All references to wetlands and irregularities relating to the Gautrains road reserve have nothing to do with Tambo Springs or its owners. What is described as the K148 access road, is simply, a new road planned by the Gauteng Department of Road and Transport to unlock economic opportunity in the entire southern Ekurhuleni district from the N3 to OR Tambo Airport. Note that Tambo Springs already has access to the project via two main arterials.
  • Tambo Springs and its owners have never been involved in any corporate or government- related corruption scandals.
  • TSDC signed a contract in 2015 to sell a portion of land to Transnet for them to build a terminal. There has been reference in the press, over the years, of the purported corruption between Transnet Freight rail and their own rail construction consortiums. Again, nothing at all to do with Tambo Springs, its development process, its management, staff and owners.

All of the facts mentioned above can be corroborated with empirical evidence and can be made available for your review. We would, therefore, like to request immediate rectification of all the defamatory statements that were incorrectly aimed at the Tambo Springs Project.

We welcome the opportunity to be interviewed on your program to set the record straight about Tambo Springs. Not only do we have a newsworthy story fraught with the many challenges of unlocking a project of this type, but also the numerous “Road to Rail” opportunities that we are trying to unlock around the country in what is arguably, one of the key drivers to unlocking economic growth and development in SA.

Yours sincerely

Dr Willie Els

Chairman

TamboSpringsDevelopmentCompanyPtyLtd


Francois Nortje’s comment in response to the above statement from Dr Willie Els

A geographical area name can not be trade marked.

You register a trademark like that just to ensure that another person can not use that name and start another geographical area with same name.

But you lose you trademark as the area get known as Tambo Springs or Port of Gauteng.

When TS website was launched years ago it mentioned 1000 hectares… Their was other land included in the website in the beginning.

Their current artist impression show land ’til the N3.

I never mentioned Tambo Springs Development company pty Ltd

And neither did Francois Bekker, when he approached me.

We both understood it to be the high land next to the N3.

When Ekurhuleni council had the stakeholder meeting in May 2021, there were maps on the wall, that clearly talked about Tambo Springs the geographical area.

They confuse geographical area with a company name.

You can not own a geographical name.

Century city lost that trademark case about 20 years ago.

– Francois

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