Nelisiwe Amanda Mgcina has written a pain stained letter that accuses global media giant, Naspers, of robbing poor black people under the guise of broad based black economic empowerment (BBBEE).
The 27 year old single mother is part of more than 100 000 black people who were sold a freedom dividend promise by Naspers through a vehicle called Welkom Yizani.
More than 100 000 people, many of which are poor black people, emptied their pockets and bought shares in the Welkom Yizani BBBEE scheme that promised a political reparation of sort. The scheme invested in Media24, Nasper’s print media business, has failed its investors. Opening at R10.00 per share in 2006, it has remained trapped at R10.00 and has on occasions dipped below R10.00 which saw investors losing money.
Media24 operates a number of popular print media titles like City Press, Daily Sun, Sunday Sun, Beeld, Rapport and a host of knock and drops and magazines. It also owns some of the biggest online titles in the country like news24, fin24, channel24, travel24, wheel24 and HuffPost South Africa.
Here follows Mgcina’s letter
Good Day Mam/Sir
I currently reside in the township of Vosloorus with my baby and my mother who is on pension. I bought the Welkom Yizani shares in 2006 when they were first launched. I was 16 years old and still staying with both my parents at home.
Having thought of the difficult financial conditions we were faced with at home I then decided to take my lunch money, that I had been sparing for some weeks, to go and invest in these shares hoping that one day this would change my fate and better my future and that of the people that I care for. I was given the impression that they were aimed at the empowerment of disadvantaged people (namely black people). Sadly to my disappointment, Media 24, the company in which Welkom Yizani is invested, appears to be the only party that benefited from the whole establishment. We the disadvantaged people were left in worse condition than the one we were in before this whole scheme started.
The R10.00 trap
1) We bought for R10 per share. 14.6 million of those shares were issued and fully subscribed for.
2) The scheme has paid some dividend but I have not seen a penny from this dividend. This might be because my shareholder details were printed incorrectly from the beginning to date (regardless of my attempts of calling their helpdesk requesting an amendment of my details) from my name, surname to even my I.D number. I wonder as to how many other shareholders are having the same bad experiencing as I am. Considering that most shareholders were either elderly, or very young (as in my case), or not properly educated about such matters most of us did not know or still do not know how to get justice on this.
3) To make matters worse, Welkom Yizani share price has not gained value since the start of this scheme. As of September 2006 the shares were sold at R10.00 each. On the 15th of March 2018 they were still sitting at R10 each as stated on their online trading site.
4) On the other hand Media 24 grew significantly at our expense as such they introduced new titles of newspapers, magazines and online publications following the Welkom Yizani scheme.
I have written this e-mail as a cry for help and guidance in my quest to get justice for the seemingly ruthless, big shark called Media24/Naspers faced as Welkom Yizani. I would like to see the company reimbursing my money but having accounted for the gains and returns received by both companies since 2006 till 2018 as a result of my investment.
In the interest of fairness ProBonoMatters sent out a right of reply alert to Naspers/Media24 at the time of publishing this post. We will publish their response here if and when it comes.