It looks like Gold Fields’ controversial black economic empowerment (BEE) deal is set to unravel as cracks emerge between role players.
Mamphela Ramphele, the former chairperson of Gold Fields and now a political party hopeful, wants to be seen as spilling the beans on the 2010 deal. While arguing that the deal predates the beginning of her tenure at Gold Fields, Ramphele is alleging that the deal was shoved down the group by the government. In a stament released yesterday Gold Fields seems to be challenging this saying “Statements attributed in press reports yesterday to Dr Ramphele represent her own personal views”.
The deal which delivered about 9% of Gold Fields’ South Deep mine to a grouping called Invictus Gold has faced credibility questions long before the current round. Mining journalist Barry Sergeant has led the assault on the deal which includes colourful characters like Kenny Kunene, the Sushi King.
Here follows an edited version of a statement released by Gold Fields yesterday.
Gold Fields confirms that in December 2012, the Company, through the Social and Ethics Committee of its Board of Directors, commenced a thorough independent investigation concerning its Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transactions. The Company took this action following press reports raising questions about those transactions.
The Board has engaged an independent, highly regarded international law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP (Paul Weiss), with extensive experience in such matters, to undertake the investigation. The Board has directed Paul Weiss to determine the facts, and to provide recommendations to the Board. Gold Fields has also asked Paul Weiss to review the Company’s relevant internal controls and to recommend any necessary improvements. Gold Fields will report further on this matter upon the conclusion of the investigation, which is being conducted with the full support of the board and senior management.
Gold Fields’ fundamental values include acting with fairness, integrity, honesty, and transparency, and obeying the rules, regulations, and laws that govern it. Gold Fields’ pursuit of this investigation reflects its commitment to strict compliance with the laws to which it is subject and to its Code of Ethics.
Gold Fields values and respects the services to the Company of its former Chair, Dr Mamphela Ramphele. During her tenure Dr Ramphele strongly supported the Board’s decision to commission an independent investigation. Statements attributed in press reports yesterday to Dr Ramphele represent her own personal views.