Recent events attached to racing in Gauteng have seen a major fall-out in the directorate in the Racing Association, triggered by the resignation in June of the leading business and investment journalist, Alec Hogg of Moneyweb, and now followed by the premature resignation of two of South Africa’s premier businessmen, Markus Jooste and Chris van Niekerk. These two gentleman are not only among the most astute in the business community, but they’re also two of South Africa’s biggest owners. Bearing in mind that the terms of the RA’s highly experienced (in racing terms) Chairman, Bruce Gardener and top trainer Charles Laird, expire as a matter of constitutional prescription, this brings to five the number of casualties from one of the strongest boards associated with the racing industry in South Africa.
The bitterness arising from the dispute that led to these casualties has unfortunately left a void in Gauteng ranks which is going to prove extremely difficult to fill. While it may well be argued that much of the work that needed to be done in bridging the relationship between the Racing Association and Phumelela had already been completed, (or was underway,) that doesn’t detract from the fact that in an industry as dynamic as racing, there are always major issues confronting us demanding the best brains and the most talented individuals.
Those of us who make a living from this business need to consider our positions insofar as the succession issue is concerned, and hope that in a business which is unlikely right now to attract the best candidates for the fear of the stinging criticism the outgoing incumbents were exposed to because they occupied positions at variance with those of others, we could be facing a crisis of some proportions here.
Only a reassuring list of candidates going forward will serve to allay the fears of those that might see this as an opportunity for people, whose motives might not always be in line with the interests of racing, to get themselves into positions of power.
There is a duty on those leaving office to ensure that they attempt, for all they are worth, to attract the best replacements they can.