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Moneyweb editor physically and forcefully denied entry to Nova’s AGM

Security guard says he was tasked to ensure he does not gain entry to the venue.

There is a first for everything, and today was the first time in a career of 25 years that I have been physically and forcefully prevented from attending a corporate event.

The incident occurred on Friday morning at the Nova Property Group’s annual general meeting (AGM), held at the five-star Menlyn Boutique Hotel in Pretoria. It was an important AGM as it was the first opportunity for Nova’s shareholders to engage Nova’s board about its dire financial position.

The most recent set of annual financial statements was for the 2020 financial year. It was the third consecutive set of financial statements that Nova’s auditors had qualified and expressed concerns that material uncertainty exists for the company to continue to operate as a going concern. The CIPC also served Nova with a compliance notice, and the board had to prove its solvency and ability to trade as a going concern.

This is concerning as Nova is due to start repaying debenture holders at the end of 2021, in terms of the original Schemes of Arrangement, which tasked Nova to repay the R4.6 billion around 18 700 investors invested in Sharemax. Nova’s dire financial position, as highlighted by its auditors, makes this unlikely.

Nova’s Connie Myburgh and Dominique Haese

Read:
CIPC asks Nova to explain why it should not be closed down
Nova has sold more than half of its investment properties

Physically and forcefully prevented from entering a conference room

I arrived at the AGM with a proxy form signed by an existing Nova shareholder. The proxy allowed me to represent the particular shareholder at the AGM. On arrival, Nova personnel verified and accepted the proxy, and I was required to adhere to Covid-19 protocols. For all practical purposes, I was allowed to attend the meeting.

However, a few minutes before the AGM was due to start, Nova CEO Dominique Haese, approached me and informed me that I would not be allowed to attend the meeting.

She said the reason was that my “inaccurate and damaging reportage about the Nova group over ten years” caused the group great harm and that “they” could not allow me to attend. She said the reportage caused Nova to miss out on several opportunities.

I asked Haese what authority she had that could prevent me from attending the AGM if I had a valid proxy, but she declined to answer the question.

Shortly after that, I walked to the door of the conference room where the AGM was to take place.

At the door, an individual, whom I believe to be Corrie van Rooyen, a senior employee of the Nova group, stood in the doorway and prevented me from entering. A burly security guard also suddenly appeared at my side, and he said he was tasked to prevent me from entering the conference room.

I asked Van Rooyen to allow me to access the meeting and for Connie Myburgh, Nova’s chairman and the chair of the AGM, to address my attendance at the start of formal proceedings. I also requested to speak to Myburgh.

Van Rooyen denied both requests.

At least one other attendee openly supported this proposal.

The security guard then entered the fray and firmly took hold of my arm, and pulled me away. After objecting, he released my arm. After I repeated my request to Van Rooyen, the guard pushed me away from the door with his forearms.

The guard then escorted me out of the hotel.

Media coverage

I have been covering the developments at the Nova group for many years, and I believe the company’s dire financial position is not due to my reporting, which I believe to be accurate.

The Nova board has on several occasions said that my reporting resulted in some institutions, especially  financial institutions, not wanting to do business with the company due to perceived “reputational risk”.

I am aware of two such examples.

The first was in 2014 when Absa and Grindrod withdrew funding lines and potential future funding to the group. Grindrod also approached the Reserve Bank to dispel the notion that it would suffer “reputational risk” if it conducted business with Nova. The Reserve Bank refused to do so.

The second played itself out in 2018 when Standard Bank closed all of Nova’s bank accounts at the bank.

Read:
Absa, Grindrod reject funding to Nova
Standard Bank has closed Nova’s bank accounts

Press Ombud

Nova has also laid numerous complaints about my reporting at the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa and the Press Ombud. However, to date, every single substantive complaint was judged to be unfounded.

For example, Nova lodged more than 30 complaints with the Ombud last year, all of which were dismissed.

Apart from dismissing the complaints, the Ombud wrote a special addendum to summarise the rulings. The addendum states, among other things, that Moneyweb should be “congratulated on its fair and balanced reportage, and to be encouraged in its efforts to continue holding public figures accountable to society – which is the reason for the existence of the media in the first place.”

Read: ‘Moneyweb committed its duty as the Fourth Estate’ – Acting Assistant Press Ombud
The Press Ombud’s Special Addendum can be read here.

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Give it to them Ryk, obviously they don’t like you for reporting the truth

Besides, you had a proxy to represent someone, which is only fair

One wonders what they’re trying to hide

I’m sure what they did is illegal, surely your friend should have a recourse to take them to task?

This is in breach of the companies act period.

Snag is authorities, such as they are, remain toothless so evil triumphs. Now I wonder why companies are delisting from the JSE while the Oz SE has plenty of new listings?

they are trying to hide their crime,corruption,plundering,stealing…….?

yes, i suppose they(connie myburgh, haese & co) are too scared to be asked intelligent but difficult questions, especially when it comes to questions directly related to the company laws especially about use of inside information, transactions with related parties, directorship of both companies with inter company transactions, directors transactions with the company where he/she serves as director etc etc. i can smell the rat

So, let me get this straight… Did Nova hire a bouncer to prevent someone from attending the AGM?
I am lost for words.

I am saddened and very disappointed to learn that this senior executive of Nova, Mr. Corrie Van Rooyen, participated and assisted in preventing a valid proxy to enter the AGM, thereby deliberately acting in direct contravention of the prescribes of the companies act and setting himself up as a lackey of his order givers. As a disciplined ex-senior Navy officer, a well educated, proud and very reasonable person, he definitely knew of better than to be reduced to the role of a lackey just to satisfy his order givers and to retain his pension job’ salaried income. When a man contravenes his own believes it is sickening to say the least.

You unfortunately cannot expect anything better from CONnie Myburgh, Dominique Haese and their fawning coterie of alleged professionals.

Moneyweb has previously published the report of highly respected retired Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann. The “Connie Myburgh” part of the report is worth a read:

https://www.moneyweb.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Section-417-H_W-report.pdf

Dear France,

Your comments regarding my past career, education and being perceived as a proud and reasonable person are appreciated.

The current staff of Frontier mainly consists of ex-Sharemax admin personnel who agreed to be transferred to the newly formed Frontier after the demise of Sharemax. Their main focus was and still is, to, amongst others, render a supporting service to debenture holders and shareholders.

This commitment is in stark contrast to those directors of the erstwhile Sharemax who, presumably, benefitted well during the Sharemax hay days in the form of salaries and promotor fees, but who abandoned ship when it became evident that the ship is losing steerage and might end up on rocky shores.

Glasshouses and rocks doth not a good combination maketh. (apologies to English literature and grammar).

Looking forward to reading further insulting comments.

Corrie van Rooyen

Best Pleegsorg,
No, that statement is definitely not factually correct!
The actual facts are that several directors of the erstwhile Sharemax or its affiliates did indeed continue their employment both under the Reserve Bank managers and later under Nova and Frontier. Let me remind you of such directors – Dominique Haese, Dirk Koekemoer, Mathew Osterloh, Corrie Van Rooyen. Another old director of Sharemax who resigned four years prior to the demise of Sharemax and who didn’t need “a job” but that was prepared to get involved and sort out the mess was pushed aside by a consortium of Sharemax staff that met and planned their take-over and future plans privately behind close doors and who pushed this ex-director aside. You remember the letter of this group that did the rounds for signature so as to give life to consortium’s plans? And this consortium group indeed consisted of Dominique Haese, Dirk Koekemoer, Mathew Osterloh and Corrie Van Rooyen.
Futhermore, I made no insulting comments as you state and I meant the compliments I gave of your person. The point I made and which I still stand by, is that you should not have reduced yourself to becoming a bouncer lackey and deliberately act in contravention of the companies act (and you indeed know that).
Unashamedly,
Frans Viljoen

I commend you Ryk for your unrelenting pursuit of the truth. These Nova, Sharemax lot are a real piece of work. I often pass the Villa in Pretoria East en route to work, its a horrible reminder of the absolute scam these jokers pulled. Its high time the NPA grabs them and locks them up good and proper

Very thuggish and illegal behavior from Nova.
Well done Ryk on your reporting.

This lot have been dodgy for a while now.

Get your attorney to throw the whole force of the “Promotion of ACCESS TO INFORMATION Act” (PAIA) at NOVA….

Good on you!
Now more than ever South Africa needs financial reporting like yours, keep it up.
They obviously have something to hide but the numbers will never lie!

In Spanish, “Nova” means “won’t go”. I suppose that is what you were trying to demonstrate.

Ag come on man. A journalist getting a ‘proxy’ from someone just to attend the meeting do sound fishy, doesn’t it? Obviously he is there to ‘report’ and not to look after his interests. A damn ‘spy’.

Stoffel iI see you are a cerebral athlete representing who exactly?

Myself.

If the journalist is kept out they obviously have something to hide which is too fishy for me to would want to invest in… transparency is very important.

Sterling reporting and great comments overall with tons of ‘likes’. Wonder about the thumbs down readers and their affiliations. Maybe Nova needs a MoneyWeb Comments bouncer or 5 as the negative folk have had a very poor showing thus far…

I don’t think Ryk missed much to be honest…the catering looks like sh1t to be honest

The red party equivalent of private companies. Why would anyone invest in such.

Please continue with the reporting. My Father-in-law sadly lost a lot of his retirement money with this bunch. He got in quite early, was happy as they paid initially. I didn’t know them but said the returns look suspicious. He was quite happy though as he was told he was investing in ‘brick-and-mortar’. He sadly passed away 2 months ago so will receive no justice. May they get what they deserve..

If Haese and Myburgh want to see who has done the most damage to Nova, by a mile, all they need to do is take a selfie.

As if bully tactics and thuggish behaviour is going to serve them any better. Real poor show from Nova Property Group.

This is the kind of reporting we need. Let’s see if anything dodgy shows up as well.

Surely I’m not the only one who thinks the money is long gone ?

Nope it’s there somewhere.

Excellent reporting Ryk. I really can’t believe they are still getting away with it.

My mother also invested a few Rands (luckily not significant) in the scheme on the advice of a broker, but the bad advice has also been swept under the carpet and blamed on the media for making ShareMax fall. This whole debacle is a disgrace and just shows that crime does pay…

End of comments.

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