JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba held a ‘crisis meeting’ with the JSE, SA Revenue Service (Sars), Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and the Financial Service Board (FSB) with regards to the ongoing crisis that faces Steinhoff.
This comes after Gigaba threw his weight behind regulatory investigations into the Steinhoff International scandal, while the JSE announced a probe into the retailer, last week.
Gigaba said he had requested the Financial Services Board, Public Investment Corporation, and the Government Employees Pension Fund to provide him with a report on the extent of exposure for retirement funds.
“The minister expects that this report will give assurances that the interests of the shareholders are protected, including their retirement and savings funds,” said Gigaba.
Gigaba said he supported the FSB’s independent investigation into possible false and misleading reports in terms of section 81 of the Financial Markets Act, as well as any related abuses regarding Steinhoff.
Following the meeting, PIC board chairman Sfiso Buthelezi said that the PIC was "shocked" to learn none of the board members of Steinhoff were from the PIC.
Newton-King from the JSE said that a suspension of trade on the JSE would be the "extreme last thing to do" as it is prejudicial to the company's shareholders who cannot trade their shares.
The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) said it would be investigating Steinhoff's auditors Deloitte for the auditing done for Steinhoff between 2014 and 2016, according to its CEO Bernard Agulhas.
Gigaba further stated that it was important to protect pensioners and address corporate governance at firms. He also called on regulators to act together as a task team.
South African tycoon Christo Wiese resigned on Thursday as chairman of Steinhoff (SNHG.DE), the latest setback for the retail group in the throes of an accounting scandal.
Once a must-have for investors who backed its reinvention from small furniture outfit into a retail empire, Steinhoff has seen its shares crash more than 80 percent since last week when it ordered an investigation into its accounts and parted ways with long-serving chief executive Markus Jooste.
Steinhoff said Wiese, its top shareholder and chairman who stood in as chief executive last week, had offered to step down to reinforce independent governance and address any possible conflict of interest.
Gigaba further said that what happened with Steinhoff is not a true reflection of the business environment in South Africa. National Treasury director General Dondo Mogajane said that Sars will collect less revenue when major companies, like Steinhoff, are under pressure.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE