Phumelela results delayed after tumultuous year

Horse racing
Horse racing

JSE-listed horse-racing and betting operator Phumelela Gaming & Leisure [JSE:PHM] is postponing the release of its annual results for the 12 months ended July 31, it announced on Tuesday.

The results were due on October 4.

This follows reports in July that Phumelela was in the process of retrenching hundreds of workers and closing a number of its Betting World and Tab outlets. Phumelela renegotiated with union members after the latter threatened to shut down the Durban July.

Phumelela has also made headlines for taking Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to court this year over her report on the privatisation of South Africa's horse racing industry in the late 1990s.

Mkhwebane's findings, released in May, alleged improper conduct with regard to the privatisation of the industry by the Gauteng provincial government in 1997 – which was followed by other provinces, saying it was intended to benefit a small group of white Phumelela shareholders rather than the country's population at large.

Phumelela won a court interdict against Mkhwebane in the North Gauteng High Court at the end of July, which prevented her remedial actions regarding the horse racing industry from being implemented while her report was taken on judicial review.

The betting operator was additionally embroiled in a dispute with the Gauteng Gambling Board over the payment of bookmakers' levies, in line with Mkhwebane's report, according to a recent report in Sunday World. Phumelela alluded to this in an announcement on the JSE Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) earlier in September.

On Tuesday, Phumelela said it was finalising results, which was "taking longer than initially anticipated".

"As a result it is now expected that the audited results will be released on 25 October 2019 and not 4 October 2019," Phumelela said.

A year ago, in September 2018, former Phumelela chief Rian du Plessis – a close friend of ex Steinhoff boss Markus Jooste - resigned from the horse-racing firm after 10 years at the helm.

Compiled by Marelise van der Merwe

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