Memo to Trevor Phillips re Bush Bucks crisis - ethics of good governance by Bantu Holomisa, MP - UDM President (21 September 2006)

TO: Trevor Phillips - CEO of the Premier Soccer League

CC: Rev. M Stofile - Minister of Sport
Mr B Komphela - Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Sport
Dr I Khoza - Chairman of the PSL Board of Governance

Dear Trevor

The abovementioned matter has reference. The Bush Bucks saga in the football sphere in this country is well-documented. As a result many concerned people in the Eastern Cape, including football fans and business people, have been knocking on doors - including mine - in a bid to rescue the future of professionalism in Eastern Cape soccer.; As a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Sport and a person who comes from the region, and who also at one stage ran a football club in the Eastern Cape, I understand the needs of the people of the region for a professional football club.

Of concern to many people, who have requested me to take the matter up with the Portfolio Committee of Sport, are the ethical issues around the liquidation and sale of Bush Bucks. However, I felt that before I go down that route, because I know you and many of the people in SA football personally, it would be appropriate that I raise the matter with you and your establishment first.

I have in my possession tender documentation, liquidation correspondence and press cuttings surrounding the sale of Bush Bucks, and now apparently the resale of Bush Bucks even before the PSL has taken a decision to readmit it to the Mvela League.

These documents reveal the following:
1. Clause 8 of the tender document states that "Offerors shall submit a banker's guarantee for the payment of the Offered Amount which provides for a payment of the Offered amount to Trendmania 4 (Pty) Ltd - in liquidation against submission by the joint provisional liquidators to the Offeror's bankers of written proof that the Offeror has been duly registered as a member of the Premier Soccer League. This guarantee shall be submitted with the Offeror's tender documents."

2. I have noted that the preferred bidder has submitted only a letter from their attorneys that says they hold funds in a trust account, which does not comply with the terms of the tender document.

3. I also noticed that the letter has since expired on 16 August 2006, after that there has been no guarantee of payment for the sale.

4. I have also established that one of the members of the consortium, Mr Peter Du Toit, claims to have nothing to do with this bid and this makes one wonder whether there was money set aside for this bid from the beginning and calls into question the integrity of the players involved in this matter. Why they would mislead the liquidators and football supporters in general?

5. I also take strong exception to the fact that another member of the consortium, Mr George Scalcoyonnis, is a member of the Board of Governance of the PSL. In my view it is not proper for a member of the Board of Governance to participate in any auction of PSL clubs; this can create unfair advantage at the expense of members of the public and other tenderers.

6. According to the website of Kick Off Magazine of 18 September 2006, Collin Gie -who belongs to the consortium that claims to have won the tender - states that 20 September 2006 was the last day to receive offers for the sale of Bush Bucks. It seems that even before the PSL has approved the admission as per the liquidation process, and without having paid yet, this consortium is reselling Bush Bucks. This consortium seems to be speculating for profit with Bush Bucks, and never had any sincere wish to own or properly manage the club. Even in previous media reports Mr Gie has made it clear that Bush Bucks is not guaranteed to remain in the Eastern Cape. This has caused an uproar, because Bush Bucks is a jewel of the province with a far-reaching impact on regional recreation, tourism, and the transport industry.

Allow me to suggest a way forward; since there are these allegations and concerns outlined above, and to avoid people resorting to legal or any other remedies, I would strongly suggest that the PSL should appoint an independent adjudicator to evaluate these allegations. Because a member of the Board of Governance is involved with the one consortium, the PSL has been compromised, so an independent person is required to investigate the matter and also look into whether the liquidators have been following the correct procedures during this tender process. Such an independent adjudicator should assess whether it is correct for a bidding consortium to have among its members a member of the PSL Board of Governance, with access to inside information and contacts. The challenge for the PSL is to verify whether it is procedural for this consortium to be offering for sale a club which they have not yet even acquired and for which they cannot even provide a bank guarantee. Another issue that the adjudicator could look into is media reports that the PSL had apparently approached the provincial government of the Eastern Cape to rescue Bush Bucks, either by finding willing buyers or that the province itself could buy the club. This alleged action further confused the issue because while the PSL have yet to decide on the liquidation process it is already initiating another sale process.

I hope these concerns will be addressed by your institution to avoid unnecessary and lengthy dragging through the courts or parliamentary committees, because time is against everybody involved. I hope you will not take offence that I am releasing this letter to the media, but the matter has been widely discussed in the public domain, and I need to reassure the many members of the public who have been flooding my office with complaints and allegations that I am attending to the matter.

Kind regards
Bantu Holomisa, MP
UDM President
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