Over a thousand ardent supporters of the embattled Defencex scheme flocked to the Linder Auditorium on the Wits Education campus on Saturday to hear Chris Walker, the scheme’s mastermind, speak.
Those who managed to gain entry to the fully-booked auditorium had paid an alleged R1 000 a ticket to hear Walker’s five-minute explanation of exactly what had gone wrong with his 2%-a-day investment initiative.
Moneyweb was able to gain access to the heavily guarded, members-only event by purchasing a bootleg ticket outside the entrance to the auditorium (see photos below).
Proceedings began with recitals of hymns and prayers. After music played by a Sowetan music group, to which members sung and danced, Walker entered the stage to a roar of support from the crowd.
“You are going to make me cry,” were the opening remarks to a very short speech.
In his address, Walker explained that members’ monies had been frozen and that no withdrawals from the scheme would be possible “until the investigation is complete.”
He explained in the vaguest of terms that the situation had now become “a legal matter” and that he had appointed a top attorney to represent the company during the proceedings.
However, he provided members with no explanation of what had led to the current status of events or made no attempt to justify the legitimacy of the scheme.
“There is nothing more I can say.”
No questions were taken from the crowd.
He did, however, suggest that once the legal proceedings had concluded members would once again be able to withdraw funds from the scheme.
To this the crowd murmured in support.
Following this very brief explanation, Walker asked members if they were “angry” to which unanimous agreement was heard.
He then urged that no single party, be it the banks or the media, be blamed for the situation and that calm and responsible behaviour be maintained by members.
He did urge members not to listen to “rumours” and suggested that Defencex is not a company but that Net Income Solutions is.
Defencex does not pay tax, he said, but Net Income Solutions does.
“I am going through a very difficult time,” he said, to which sympathetic utterances could be heard in the crowd. “I need to know that I have your support,” he entreated.
Support was clearly granted.
Walker then guided the crowd through a “visualisation” exercise.
Members where reminded to stay positive and happy with Walker explaining that it is impossible to have both a positive and negative thought in one’s mind at the same time.
For the purpose of guiding members towards positive thoughts, they were asked to visualise the construction of the new Net Income Solutions offices in Cape Town.
The exercise ended with members being asked to visualise the time when they could again be able withdraw funds from the scheme.
“I love you all,” said Walker as he departed to the cheers of the crowd.
As this journalist left the auditorium one of the “experts in happiness,” a member from Laugh SA, took the microphone to explain the power of joy before spontaneously releasing ever-intensifying barrages of artificial laughter into the crowd. After some brief hestitation, members of the crowd could be heard beginning to join in.
Defencex members wait outside the Linder Auditorium.