Saturday, July 2, 2011

Van Hoog is thwarted at Rainbow Tourism AGM

RACISM, under the guise of indigenisation, reared its ugly head at Rainbow Tourism Group’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, in which the single largest majority shareholder Nick van Hoogstraten failed to get a single seat on the RTG board, despite  having a 36,5% stake in the tourism group — the second largest hospitality company in the country.
An apparently rented crowd, led by mercurial indigenisation lobbyist Paddington Japajapa jeered and ululated after van Hoogstraten failed to secure a seat on the RTG board, lambasting the Zimbabwean-resident Briton for being a colonialist who had his finger in every pie of Zimbabwe’s economy.
Japajapa, who is president of the Zimbabwe Indigenous Economic Empowerment Organisation (ZIEEO), told businessdigest after the AGM that the blocking of Van Hoogstraten’s proposed nominees was a victory for indigenisation in Zimbabwe.
“This is a victory for empowerment in this country. We cannot have one man holding us to ransom all the time. He wants to be everywhere. He is in the financial services, mining and hospitality and his story is the same. He is using the money that they stole from us in Rhodesia to suppress us,” he said.
“We had waited a long time for this. We cannot have someone who shareholders say cannot even be engaged at any stage of running the business to later come and allege that the company is being mismanaged. Why can’t he use proper channels if he can prove is allegations instead of disrupting the AGM every year,” Japajapa said.
Japajapa then confronted Van Hoogstraten, asking him what he will do next after “receiving a thorough beating and humiliation.”
Indigenous Business Development Centre CEO Joshua Marufu, who was also part of the cheering crowd, said he was pleased that empowered Zimbabweans were taking centre stage on the running of local institutions.
“We want to thank the shareholders for having faith in their own empowered Zimbabweans as evidenced by the results of the polls,” he said.
“We urge all Zimbabweans to remain united as we fight for the removal of illegal sanctions which have impacted negatively on RTG which van Hoogstraten is purporting as mismanagement while it’s their effect,” Marufu said.
Van Hoogstraten, a property mogul who
has also been bandied about as being the single largest investor on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, told businessdigest he will call for an urgent Extraordinary General Meeting after shareholders resisted his proposed nominees to the board at the group’s tension-filled AGM. “Expect a notice for an EGM in the next few months to detail the fraud that has taken place and who was involved. It will be a detailed account of those fraudsters who want to enrich themselves by having more board seats and shareholding,” he said. “It is time to put an end to this. (alleged fraud). We will expose all that they did and are doing.” 
He had proposed Shingirayi Chibanguza aged 27, Alexander Hamilton (23), Ian Haruperi (32) and Maximilian Hamilton (25), be appointed to the board. However, it was mostly those in the Econet –Afre – NSSA axis that were appointed. They were chairperson Tracy Mpofu who got a 61% vote, Trynos Kufazvinei (61,1%), Godfrey Manhambara (99,9%), Shadreck Vera (61,1%), Krison Charairo (61%) and John Gould (61%).
This means Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa now has the upper hand in the attempt to take over RTG. Like his adversary, Masiyiwa, appears set to have his finger in every pie of Zimbabwe’s economy, now that he has entered the financial services sector via Afre and Renaissance Financial Holdings and tourism via RTG. Masiyiwa has also made a bid for largest hotel group in Zimbabwe, African Sun Limited.