Looting CEO: Qhawe Sithole released on bail, says Ubuntu Wealth COO
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Johannesburg - Qhawe Sithole, the Ubuntu Wealth CEO who was, this week, arrested for alleged looting, has been released on bail, while his alma mater, Hilton College, has threatened to expel him from its Old Boys societies.
Sithole, the founder and CEO of the Pretoria-based Ubuntu Wealth Management, was later suspended by his company for allegedly looting a washing machine, a bar stool, alcohol, a bicycle and braai accessories, items that were found in his Jeep Wrangler at a police roadblock in Durban.
He is understood to have been arrested with another Hilton College old boy, Trevor Maphumulo, who he was travelling with when he was apprehended by police.
Sithole, who is also a University of Cape Town, University of Free State and the London School of Economics alumni, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.
Speaking to IOL on Friday, Ubuntu Wealth Management’s chief operating officer, Mmangaliso Nxumalo said they took the allegations against the suspended CEO seriously and were due to meet with Sithole on Saturday, where he was expected to plead his case as part of an internal investigation.
Nxumalo said although details were sketchy about his arrest, Sithole had been released on bail on Thursday. He said Sithole was expected to plead his innocence on Saturday.
He said the suspended CEO had recently purchased a property in Glenashley, uMhlanga, and had travelled to Durban last week as a result.
“The suspension of the CEO was based on what we had seen on social media, so we took a position to act swiftly and issue a statement, suspending the CEO.
“We are going to be able to look at all the considerations and the circumstances because he is still pleading his innocence. Whatever the findings they bring to us, we will take a decision from there,” said Nxumalo.
He said the incident was a setback for the business, which only got its operating licence last year, and he reiterated that as a business, they were against the looting, riots and destruction that had been experienced in parts of KZN and Gauteng since last Friday.
Over 100 people in KZN and Gauteng have died in looting and riot-related incidents, while over 2000 people have been arrested in both provinces.
“It has not been easy for us, we have been receiving flak. It has been really bad.
“We do understand where people are coming from, and we hope to be able to move on from this as a business, and for the country as well to rise above the events we have seen,” said Nxumalo.
Hilton College has also issued a statement condemning acts of lawlessness after concerns were raised with the school about the alleged conduct of Sithole and Maphumulo, who are both Old Boys of the country's most expensive school.
Hilton College spokesperson Pete Storrar said the school was “deeply disappointed” and would consider expelling from the Hiltonian Society and the Old Hiltonian Club, those who were found to have taken part in the looting.
“Hilton College condemns all forms of lawlessness.
“Hilton College is horrified by the terrible scenes that have been witnessed at retailers and warehouses in KZN and Gauteng this week.
“We condemn all forms of lawlessness and would like to publicly support law enforcement agencies and members of the public who are taking a brave stand in keeping the people of South Africa safe.
“If anyone associated with Hilton College is found to have participated in any illegal activity, we would be deeply disappointed and would expect them to face the full might of the law.
“Old Hiltonians who are found to have incited, looted, or supported looting, will have their membership of the Hiltonian Society and the Old Hiltonian Club terminated,” said Storrar.
Speaking to IOL on Friday, Storrar said the school had been unable to speak to the Old Boys concerned. He said their expulsion from the Hiltonian Society and the Old Hiltonian Club would effectively mean they could play no part in the decision making and the running of the school.