Family heads to court after man with 51% share of multimillion-rand company dies broke

2018-11-18 12:15
High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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He may have been a majority shareholder at a multimillion-rand company but Joseph Madiehe died with very little money to his name.

Elizabeth Mapanzela has told News24 how her brother lived in poverty while his name was allegedly used as a front by Planet Stationary to get deals worth millions of rands. The company operates under the name @Office World and is based in the North West.

Madiehe owned 51% of the company's shares, but allegedly relinquished them for a mere R100 000 to his boss.

Mapanzela is now challenging the alleged transaction in court, saying it was invalid because her brother was unaware that he owned any shares until he was close to death.

Used as a front

She claims Madiehe was fronted as a "black" owner so that the company could get tenders and seemingly comply with BEE regulations.

Her brother's initial position in the company was that of a driver.

Madiehe died on August 6 this year.

Call from minority shareholder

Mapanzela says when Madiehe found out that he was a shareholder and "requested that he be paid dividends equal to his shareholding position", he was given the runaround.

"He had just found out that he was a shareholder in two companies, and later died a pauper," Mapanzela said

She alleges that after Madiehe was buried, the minority shareholder of the company, Pieter Oberholzer, contacted her and demanded a copy of her brother's death certificate.

Mapanzela also alleges that the company said Madiehe had "disposed" of his shares to Oberholzer for a payment of R100 000.

"The agreement was invalid, and my brother deserves to have his dignity restored, even in his grave," she said.

READ: 'White couple used me as a front'

The High Court sitting in Mahikeng dismissed the urgent application brought by Mapanzela and ruled that it was not urgent.

Threatening text messages

She had asked the court to move with speed in addressing the matter, saying her brother's children were now destitute, and should be relieved immediately.

"The children have now resorted to be being beggars, while they are heirs to more than half of a multimillion-rand company," she said.

Information shared on the government supplier database shows that the annual turnover of the company was between R10m and R50m in the previous financial year.

While in the company's employ, Madiehe was only allowed to use a company vehicle for personal use, and was allowed to stay in a house, seemingly in payment for his shareholding role.

"However, the deceased has never received payment of dividends, and that is evident in the deceased's [four-year] bank statement," said Mapanzela.

A text message has also surfaced in which Oberholzer allegedly threatens Mapanzela. It reads: "Hi, if I don't get the papers I'm going to sell the house. I cannot keep paying for the house. If you don't work with me I will not transfer the house to Simon's child. Thanks".

Another text said: "If you don't answer me today I will sell the house. No turning back."

ALSO READ: Fronting remains a huge problem - BBBEE Commission

Mapanzela said she was scared that Oberholzer would act on his threats, and that her brother's children would be left out in the cold, without a home.

When contacted, Oberholzer told News24 that the matter was before the court, and he would only comment once a ruling had been made.

The matter resumes on December 13.

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