4Racing announces new Chair, provides update for SA Horseracing
DURBAN – 4Racing, the new South African horseracing controlling body formerly known as Mary Oppenheimer Daughters (MOD), is pleased to announce the appointment of Mxolisi Zwane as Chairperson, effective from 1 April 2021.
Zwane, an attorney of the High Court of South Africa, is a prominent Human Rights activist, as well as being an experienced arbitrator with the Association of Arbitrators, and has held several esteemed positions and served as Director on many boards, including the Pan South African Language Board, National Heritage Council, National Lotteries Commission, Gauteng Tourism Authority, Black Business Council, Chamber of Commerce & Industries (CHAMSA) and Premier Foods to name but a few.
A Managing Partner at Zwane-Sambo Inc., Zwane has also held the position of Chairperson of the Gauteng Gambling Board and is therefore well acquainted with horseracing and the challenges the sport has experienced over the years.
“I am extremely excited to have been presented with the opportunity this position has provided me and I look forward to engaging with all necessary stakeholders as 4Racing proceeds with the vital transformation and rebuilding of the South African horseracing industry” states Zwane.
“This industry has many stakeholders and, importantly, provides both employment for thousands as well as significant tax revenue for Treasury. This makes our work really crucial, both for preserving the jobs and livelihoods of many, and for growing the sport which has suffered enormously over the past decades” continued Zwane. “The challenge is there for all to see and I am extremely confident 4Racing will help deliver racing back to the owners, punters, racing yards and complimentary businesses that rely on a sustainable, growing industry for their livelihoods and enjoyment.”
In addition to Zwane’s imminent arrival to oversee a new era, 4Racing is expecting to receive approval from the Competition Commission by the end of March to proceed with rolling out their strategy, following which focus will be on attaining all the necessary licensing from the Gambling Board. This will be a key milestone given the distress the industry has been under for some time. “There is still plenty of work to be done, but 4Racing is optimistic that the necessary pieces will start falling into place given the amount of work that’s already been done” said Zwane.
The original priority for MOD, and therefore for 4Racing, has been to save jobs and pave the way for a sustainable industry, while looking after the interests of all parties. Of particular importance are the most vulnerable – grooms employed by the racing stables and those working on the farms.
To this end 4Racing will include a broad-based ownership scheme (Grooms Trust) with an Empowered Shareholder structure and employee share ownership program to meet the requirements of Statement 100 of the Codes. The new structure will not only provide for shareholding for empowered shareholders, but will also include a revenue share to fund new initiatives, such as a Pension Fund.
“As a direct result of the Plan, 4Racing will take over the employment of approximately 1,040 employees, while operationally we are committed to levelling the playing fields with regards to stakes in the regions in which we will be operating, while details of an additional Seasonal Stakes Program will also be announced shortly” states Restructuring task Team member Charles Savage. “This program will include placing additional emphasis (and with it, greater prize money) on the extending of the Triple Crown as well as other initiatives designed to encourage greater competition across racing jurisdictions to ensure our champions compete against one another more regularly.”
Digital transformation of the industry is of paramount importance as we seek to elevate SA racing, and plans are being drawn up for large-scale investment into improving the product for the betterment of all stakeholders. Special attention is being paid to ensuring our products and services are easier for partners to carry and deliver to their customers, while we also aim to build on our existing international partnerships to maximise revenue opportunities and improve the showcasing and broadcast of our world-class racing product both locally and abroad.
4Racign has already engaged extensively with Government to create a platform to build a better understanding of horseracing and to win over then state’s support as we seek to rebuild from the bottom up. This includes both the on- and off-course product where improvements with the TAB experience are essential and where the promotion of the various tote offerings are essential for the funding and sustainability of the industry.
“There is so much to be done, and we have a great responsibility to elevate this wonderful sport to the position it so richly deserves” says Zwane. “We really can’t wait to start generating momentum and seeing the strategies the Restructuring Task Team, MOD and other dedicated people have been working on so tirelessly. We look forward to collaborating, and partnering, with all industry stakeholders under a common purpose and goal – and to do it all 4Racing” concludes Zwane.