Media releases

DRD responds to media report of CEO’s deportation

Contrary to a report in today’s City Press newspaper (3.3.02), Durban Roodepoort Deep, Limited’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Wellesley-Wood, has not been served with deportation orders and ordered out of South Africa. 088-jmd

Contrary to a report in today’s City Press newspaper (3.3.02), Durban Roodepoort Deep, Limited’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Wellesley-Wood, has not been served with deportation orders and ordered out of South Africa.

Wellesley-Wood left the country voluntarily on Thursday for his home in the UK, to visit his family and to attend to business.

DRD’s attorneys, Bowman Gilfillan, were informed in a telephone call from a senior official in the Department of Home Affairs on Friday that Wellesley-Wood had been prohibited from re-entering South
Africa.

No reasons were given.

DRD’s attorneys will seek urgent confirmation of – and the reasons for – the prohibition from the Director-General of Home Affairs tomorrow (4.3.02).

Wellesley-Wood said from London today (3.3.02): “I remain optimistic that this situation can be resolved satisfactorily. Litigation being instituted by DRD in South Africa against various parties is imminent and it is very important that I am present in the country for this.”

Wellesley-Wood joined the DRD board in May 2000 as non-executive chairman with a specific brief to improve corporate governance. By August 2000 he had established a special committee, comprised of executive and non-executive directors as well as legal and auditing representatives, to investigate the performance of certain DRD investments, including those in Australia. Deloitte and Touche was appointed to investigate all corporate governance practices and procedures, and to make recommendations for improvements.

In November 2000, following the resignations of DRD’s Chief Executive Officer and Finance Director, Wellesley-Wood necessarily took over as acting CEO, spearheading investigations into a range of irregularities that had come to light. He was subsequently confirmed as CEO in April 2001.

DRD’s operating and financial performance has turned around since Wellesley-Wood took over:

  • From a loss of US$4million in March 2001, the company has reported profits for the last three quarters. In the December quarter net cash operating profit was US$13 million.
  • Cash operating costs have dropped from US$240 per ounce to US$185 per ounce during the same period.
  • The share price, which hit a low of R4.50 in 2000, is now R32.
  • Market capitalisation has risen from R550 million to R5 200 million.

On 23 January 2001, following Wellesley-Wood’s appointment as CEO, DRD wrote to the Department of Home Affairs to inquire about his work permit/visa requirements. The company was advised in a letter dated 31 January 2001, signed by a senior official on behalf of the Director General, that a work permit was not required and that Wellesley-Wood’s British passport exempted him from visa requirements.

The letter went on to say: “On arrival in South Africa, Mr Wellesley-Wood must clearly indicate to the immigration officer that he will, on a regular basis, visit South Africa to attend meetings and act as Chief Executive Officer.”

Wellesley-Wood therefore continued to commute regularly between his home in the UK and DRD’s South African head office, using only his British passport.

In a letter dated 16 January this year, the Department of Home Affairs advised DRD that Wellesley-Wood now required a work permit and his attorneys lodged his application with the South African High Commission in London on 1 February. He was issued with a letter by the High Commission, permitting him to enter South Africa for holiday and business purposes while his application was being considered.

Queries:

James Duncan
27 11 82 892 8052 (mobile)

Charmane Russell
27 11 82 372 5816 (mobile)

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