Category Archives: Work

What a steal!

The buildings that form part of Santè Hotel and Spa, where I work, were auctioned off today for a total of less than R40m.

Here is an article from News 24 summarising the auction;

Cape Town – The Sante Hotel and Spa complex, the last of troubled Fidentia’s assets, went for a steal at a combined R39m under auction on Thursday.

A buyer bought the Sante Hotel, conference centre and resort spa for R25.1m, while the Bayonne spa suites went to another buyer for R2.6m. Three villas on the property were sold to separate buyers for R4.6m, R4m and R2.7m.

The prices excluded VAT and an auction commission fee.

ClareMart CEO Jonathan Smiedt said that, with VAT and fees, the final price tag came to around R42m or 43m.

It was considered a December bargain since the package of properties was currently worth around R80m in terms of a municipal valuation. According to the curators, the entire property was bought in 2004 and 2005 at a price tag of more than R117m.

Smiedt said the group had tried to get the best possible price to contribute “some form of retribution for the Fidentia victims”.

“I am very happy with the result. I hope the person who bought it unlocks the value for Sante because there is a tremendous surge in the Cape Winelands,” he said.

With many out of pocket as a result of the fraud, the curators of Fidentia property holdings had instructed Claremart Auction Group to put the buildings under the hammer.

While those at the auction sipped their complimentary juice and hot drinks, former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown was in jail serving an effective 15-year term for two fraud convictions.

‘State of the art facilities’

The charges related to his handling of investments for the Transport Education and Training Authority and the Mantadia Asset Trust Company between 2002 and 2006.

The Western Cape High Court initially handed him a R150 000 fine and a suspended jail term, but this was successfully appealed by the National Prosecuting Authority.

Brown’s appeals to the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court had both failed.

Held at the swanky One&Only Hotel at the V&A Waterfront, the auction room was packed to the brim with people in business attire and casual wear.

Some clutched at their booklets and looked around at the competition.

Representatives for telephonic buyers stood on the sidelines, phones at the ready.

The auctioneer touted the properties as a “magnificent investment opportunity”.

The hotel, conference centre and resort spa was sold, together with the trademarks and the right to extend the scheme.

The current tenant, hotel group Orion, would vacate 60 days after confirmation of the sale.

Bidding started off slowly, with a R10m offer, but people soon got into the swing of things.

The booklet described the property as having “a reception area, two exclusive lounges, cocktail bar, billiard room and entertainment facility, with flow to patio and pool, premier restaurant with commercial kitchen and 10 fully fitted luxury suites”. The conference centre had “state of the art facilities”, while the spa was upmarket and fully fitted.

‘Fortunate to have got these prices’

The Bayonne free-standing building had four deluxe spa suites, each with an en suite bathroom, fireplace and patio or balcony.

Two of the villas were four-bedroom, four bathroom. The third was a two bedroom, two bathroom.

John Levine, a co-curator, was impressed with the turnout.

“I am absolutely delighted that after 10 years, we have managed to sell these properties so that we can close down this curatorship, give people this money, and bring this whole tragedy to an end.”

He said Brown had made a habit of overpaying.

“Maybe the curators had wishful thoughts of recovering the money, but we never ever got near those sorts of values. With time the estate has run down so we are very fortunate to have got these prices.”

The net proceeds, along with cash from another source, would go to the four creditors.

The Living Hands Umbrella Trust had the largest stake at 89.6%, with 57 427 beneficiaries largely from the Mineworkers Provident Fund.

Your invitation to a better 2017

I subscribe to the Betterman Blueprint by Erik Kruger and received the following invite this week that I’d like to share:

My friend,

This year is drawing to a close. Many are excited for the upcoming holidays and the opportunity to unwind.

It’s been an interesting year. Trump. Brexit. My discovery that some people believe the world is flat. Did I mention Trump?

Irrespective of how interesting or horrific your year turned out to be. There is room for improvement. It’s wise to understand that there is no clear route to success. Anyone who thinks they can outline the steps needed to achieve such greatness is delusional. But there are definitely steps that you can take that will vastly increase your odds.

Let’s chat about a few easy ways to prepare for an incredible 2017…

1. First up, take stock.
Your current situation is an accumulation of your past decisions and actions. As simple as that. Although we might not have 20/20 clarity when looking at our destination. Hindsight is always crystal clear.

People can often identify the exact moment when things started going wrong. They can pinpoint the second when everything changed. But it’s important to acknowledge the small events that led up to that tipping point.

To get your mind going in the right direction you can ask yourself two focusing questions:

1. What went well this year? Even the worst year has a few bright moments.

2. What could I have done better this year? Admit to failure and incomplete actions.

2. Work on your core-chassis.
I have borrowed the core-chassis idea from P&G. Every product has a core-chassis. For toothpaste it consists of the ingredients that cleans and protect from cavities. From there you can start adding other more interesting elements such as different flavours, whitening etc.

The core-chassis of productivity is:

A sustainable diet
Eating for productivity is different to eating for a ripped body. I wont get into it for now, but your diet in this instance should provide continuous energy throughout the day. No highs or lows. Small, light meals during the day. Stay away from processed foods and white carbs.

A healthy body
Exercise is as important for your mind as it is for your body. You don’t need to look like a cover model. But you should stay in shape.

Enough sleep
This is obvious, and the most neglected. Think you are coping fine with less than 7 hours of sleep? You aren’t. Hit the bed.

A challenged mind
A mind that is just going through the motions everyday accomplishes very little. It needs to be challenged and pushed. Read new things, weird things, and hard things. Look for the relationships between seemingly unrelated areas of life.

3. Accept total ownership.
This life is yours. It’s up to you to make the best of it. Along the way you will find people who will help you to raise your game. But they cannot act on your behalf. They cannot be responsible for your happiness or success.

When you take ownership you start evolving. Something deep in you stirs. A voice starts whispering that no matter what comes your way, you will conquer it. No matter the battles you have to face, you will not allow your tranquility to be disturbed.

This evolution is slow.

So you have to be patient.

But with each passing day you will become so much more.
Acta non verba,

Blue Mondays at Zevenwacht 

I work at the Zevenwacht branch of Bakwena Spa each Monday and I must say it is the best place to recharge and find creative inspiration. The view is simply amazing. Every week when I’m here I absorb every detail of the work our team has put into the design of this unique place. I just needed to share a few pictures of something I’m proud of and grateful for having a part in…

The Pearl of the Winelands

So the place where I work is up for auction and an article about it being the last of Fidentia’s assets appeared in the Rapport today. Here’s the article:

Laaste van Fidentia se skatte in die mark

Deur Aldi Schoeman 13 November 2016 00:00

Fidentia-beleggers se laaste hoop om nog geld terug te kry, is op ’n “lendelam” hotel buite die Paarl.

Die Santé Hotel & Spa, die laaste van Fidentia se bates wat opgeveil word. Dit is buite die Paarl en het ’n uitsig op die Bolandse berge. Foto’s: Conrad Bornman


Die Santé Hotel & Spa word op 1 Desember opgeveil. Dit is die laaste van Fidentia se bates wat van die hand gesit gaan word en maak ’n einde aan Fidentia se “weelde en luuksheid”, sê die afslaer, ClareMart, in ’n verklaring.

Meer as ’n miljard rand word nog deur beleggers geëis, luidens die jongste kuratorsverslag.

Fidentia is sedert Februarie 2007 onder kuratorskap en J. Arthur Brown, die veroordeelde bedrieër wat die grootbaas was, dien 15 jaar gevangenisstraf uit weens bedrog van byna R300 miljoen.

George Papadakis, een van die kurators, sê die Santé-eiendomme is in 2004 en 2005 vir sowat R117 miljoen gekoop. R41,4 miljoen is aan bedryfskoste bestee vandat Fidentia in kuratorskap is.

Uit die jongste kuratorsverslag blyk dit daar was verskeie probleme met dié hotel, wat deur die Orion-hotelgroep bestuur word.

“Dit lyk of Orion sukkel om die hotel finansieel volhoubaar te bedryf,” lui die verslag.

Agterstallige heffings van R4,75 miljoen is in Januarie betaal aan die huiseienaarsvereniging van die landgoed waarop die hotel is, volgens die verslag.

John Levin, een van die kurators, het bevestig dat agterstallige munisipale rekenings van R2,3 miljoen (“ná ’n gróót afslag”) ook intussen vereffen is.

Die ooreenkoms met Orion is dat die perseel 60 dae nadat die eiendomme verkoop is, ontruim sal word.

Voëlmis teen die mure is die minste van die probleme by Santé.


Gaste was die laaste ruk klaarblyklik nie beïndruk deur die hotel nie. Solank jy jou aandag toespits op die fantastiese uitsig op die berge deur die venster, is dit ’n wonderlike belewenis. Maar in die kamers is daar stukkende ligte, ’n lendelam yskas en handdoekreling wat van die muur val as jy ’n handdoek daaroor hang.

“Die kamers lyk ongelooflik totdat jy sien hoe vuil die deure, muurproppe en vloere is,” het Lorinda Voges van Sandton op 1 Oktober op die reiswebtuiste TripAdvisor geskryf.

Die hotelbestuur vra telkens op die webtuiste om verskoning vir besoekers se slegte belewenisse en onderneem om probleme reg te stel.

Besoekers wat tevrede was, het veral die mooi ligging uitgewys. Gaste was ook tevrede met die spa, wat deur Bakwena bedryf word.

Met Rapport se besoek aan die landgoed was die hotel op die oog af netjies, maar daar was voëlmis aan die mure en op die plaveisel, stowwerige hoekies met spinnerakke en verf wat hier en daar van die mure afdop.

Volgens ClareMart se verklaring is die hotel ’n goeie beleggingsgeleentheid.

Die hotel het ’n kroeg, biljartkamer, vermaakarea met ’n patio by die swembad, ’n restaurant en tien luukse suites. Die spa het onder meer ’n jacuzzi en ’n warm binnenshuise swembad.

Só lyk eise teen Fidentia

Die totale waarde van eise wat die kurators namens beleggers teen Fidentia ingestel het, beloop R1 366 960 951, lui die verslag.

Hiervan is R324 111 729 teen 31 Mei 2015 uitbetaal. Die totale eise wat uitstaande is, is dus R1 042 849 222.

Daar is net sowat R20 miljoen kontant wat saam met die opbrengs van die hotel aan beleggers uitbetaal kan word.

Ook die konferensiesentrum en drie villas gaan opgeveil word. Papadakis sê daar is nog nie besluit of die eiendomme saam of afsonderlik opgeveil gaan word nie.

Luidens die kuratorsverslag het Grant Thornton die eiendomme gewaardeer, maar hul bevinding is vertroulik.

Die tanzaniet-edelsteen wat in die laaste kuratorsverslag as ’n bate gelys word, is nie veel werd nie, sê Levin. Niemand stel daarin belang om dit te verkoop nie.

Fidentia se 26%-belang in die maatskappy Moshate is ook nie die moeite werd nie. Moshate het in ’n ander maatskappy belê wat ’n begraafplaas in Johannesburg wou begin, maar nooit ’n lisensie daarvoor kon kry nie.

Jonathan Smiedt, uitvoerende hoof van ClareMart, sê ’n “onoorkomelike vlak van skade” is aangerig. “Die veiling kan nooit heeltemal die finansiële nood van soveel mense vergoed nie, maar ons wil die beste moontlike prys kry om by te dra tot ’n mate van vergelding vir die Fidentia-slagoffers.”

PaarlApp Launch Success

Paarl was introduced to a new interactive guide to everything they want to know last night. The launch of PaarlApp held at Le Bac was such a huge success that I got home feeling more recharged than exhausted, although I didn’t sleep in the three days leading up to the event.

The event was styled as an open networking event and each invitee was asked to bring their business cards. We invited about 150 marketing decision-makers of businesses in Paarl. Current clients (pre-ordered) had expo stands to showcase their product or service while guests could network with each other and the expo stands.
Haute Cabriere PaarlApp
Arriving at the venue each guest received a glass of Haute Cabriere MCC, which they had sponsored for the evening. At around 19:30, Reg from Le Bac introduced the venue and their offerings whereafter I was up for my presentation. In hindsight, I stressed too much about it as it went down quite effortlessly. I really hope someone took a video because I’m proud of that moment.

As soon as I finished my presentation, I put the mic down and turned around to see Ilde from The Boland Showcase (PaarlApp’s official sales partner) already signing a contract with our first paying client. I bought a Yoco card reader so that we could take payments on the evening for signups. For the rest of the evening I simply made rounds and tried to talk to every person – I should probably mention that there were 96 guests – and by the end of the evening Ilde had signed 11 contracts.

PaarlApp Launch Event

I need to thank everyone who assisted in making the event a success, as this event is a clear projection of the future of PaarlApp; Ilde and Johnny from Boland Showcase for organising so much, conversing with most of our sponsors and helping to get invitations out; Reg and Francois from Le Bac for letting us use your beautiful venue, for your motivational words and for the absolutely beautiful canapès (I didn’t have a chance to taste, but I hear so many amazing things) and overall for executing a flawless event; To our sponsors at Haute Cabriere and The Strawwberry King for the welcoming experience; And most of all my mother and the man at my side, WOW, your financial and emotional investments have carried myself, the event and the business to a place where it cannot be anything but a success. Thank you!