4 May 2018
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on Steinhoff acting Chief Executive Officer Danie van der Merwe to resign with immediate effect following an announcement by the company that he has paid back a R26.4 million loan that he borrowed from Investec Bank using company shares as collateral shortly before the dramatic collapse of the value of those same shares by more than 95% in November last year.
FEDUSA believes that the timing of the loan application is highly suspicious and smacks of insider trading and feels vindicated in its assertion that there is absolutely no way that Steinhoff top executive, including van der Merwe could not have full knowledge of what was going on, on the eve of the share collapse, made up predominantly of public servants pensions.
“And notwithstanding the fact that the formal forensic investigation is still proceeding, van der Merwe’s action corroborates what we have been saying along, that Steinhoff and its shareholders have been the victim of major corporate fraud, the largest in SA history,” said Ivan Fredericks, FEDUSA Vice President for the Public Service.
“The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), represented by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is currently the biggest single shareholder of Steinhoff, and bears a heavy responsibility to lead the way to both uncover the perpetrators of this corporate fraud as well as to protect the remaining value for itself as a Steinhoff shareholder, the current 130 000 employees of Steinhoff as well as all other stakeholders on the Board”.
FEDUSA also wants acting Chairperson Heather Sonn to fire van der Merwe immediately if he refuses to leave of his own accord pending a thorough investigation by the Hawks into the specific role he played in South Africa’s biggest corporate scandal and in line with her promise to investors last month that any executive embroiled in a whiff of scandal would be asked to leave.
The people who plunged Steinhoff into this unprecedented crisis can never be the same people who will lead it out of it, we want all of them to resign and a new Board that includes worker directors appointed, concluded Fredericks.
FEDUSA is the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa and represents a diverse membership from a variety of sectors in industry. See www.fedusa.org.za for more information.
For interviews please contact:
FEDUSA Vice President for the Public Service
082 880 8983
FEDUSA Acting General Secretary
079 696 2625
FEDUSA Media Officer
072 637 8096