Pollard to lead Vodacom Bulls

The Vodacom Bulls announced that flyhalf Handré Pollard will be captaining the Vodacom Super Rugby franchise going into the season, while regular captain Adriaan Strauss is still recovering from surgery and expected to miss the first few games of the competition.

The young flyhalf is no stranger to leadership roles, as he performed a sterling job of captaining the junior Boks on several occasions, and has always been part of the leadership group at Loftus Versfeld over the last few years.

Coach Nollis Marais: “Handré is an amazing rugby player and a natural born leader, and we are privileged to have a young man of his caliber in our system. He has a strong personality and a great vision for the game, as he has shown time and time again, at all levels. Couple that with the respect he has earned from the players and the vital experience he has gained with the Springboks, and his appointment becomes obvious.”

Pollard will be deputised by Hanro Liebenberg, another youngster who had the honour of captaining the junior Boks as well as the Vodacom Blue Bulls at both junior and Currie Cup levels.

Highvelder: Solomon’s a-‘maize’-ing story

“I know I have proven that I can farm successfully. All I want is to be able to settle on a farm and be allowed to produce food. That is what farming is all about.”

Solomon Masango (36) is a young farmer who grew up in the Carolina district and has a truly amazing story to tell.

He currently farms on a hired stretch of land just north of Carolina that he is transforming from nothing to one of the healthiest and potentially best yielding maize and soy fields per hectare in the district.

The pride and knowledgeable enthusiasm with which Solomon shows off his 90 ha maize crop and 90 ha soy bean crop is a tell-tale sign that his dream of becoming a commercial farmer is well within his reach, given the right opportunity and support. He also has a herd of cattle grazing on the farm.

Things didn’t come easily for Solomon. He has had to stand up against some unpleasant red tape and obstacles put in his way, but his tenacity and will to farm has already earned him the title of “Farmer of the Year”.

Solomon’s story began seven years ago when the Ubuhle Uyazenzela Communal Property Association (CPA), of which he is a member, acquired a farm in a land claim settlement.

He then made an application to work the land, which at that time was lying fallow.

From the outset he made it clear that he did not want to farm on the property for free, so that the other members would be able to receive dividends.

In 2009 he started working on a 50 ha section of the farm with one tractor. He hired only one guard and they worked day and night, rotating day and night shifts between them.

When government authorities saw the progress Solomon was making with the meagre means at his disposal, they stepped in and assisted him with two more tractors, along with two drivers.

Initially the yield was only 20 bags of maize per hectare. With hard work and sheer determination, Solomon used the money from the 2009 crop to buy a second tractor for himself. This enabled him to work only during the day and in 2010 he increased the hectares to 100.

By 2011 he was able to buy a third tractor and was now working 200 ha, producing an average of 3.5 tonnes per hectare.

The following year he received an offer of financial assistance from Afgri and the Department of Agriculture, mentorship from Agri SA and expert advice from Grain SA.

In 2013 he was able to hire more employees and equipment and was working 300 ha with a yield of between four and five tonnes per hectare.

“Only at this stage was I able to show a small profit,” said Solomon.
Still determined to achieve more success and provide more employment opportunities, in 2015 Solomon increased the hectares to 450, now split between 300 ha soy beans and 100 ha of maize.

That same year he was voted Grain SA Farmer of the Year, but according to Solomon, this was when the problems began.

“Certain members of the CPA ordered me off that farm, because, according to them, it was making me too rich.

“I then approached the Department of Land Affairs in Ermelo and explained to them that I was being chased from the farm and I wanted to carry on farming. I told them I had the necessary equipment and was successful, so I needed land where I could farm.”

The matter was taken to court, but the CPA members who had arrived at the court by the busload managed to convince the magistrate that Solomon was using their land to make himself rich and claimed they were not benefiting financially, even though he had proof of regular payments which far exceeded the norm.
The court then ordered him to leave the farm.

Solomon left, taking his tractors and equipment with him and started over again on the adjacent farm, which he hires from the Santungane Trust. He hired some of the labourers he had worked with on the CPA farm to help him out. In addition to providing jobs, he also made his tractor and equipment available to them to work their own small tracts of land on the CPA farm where they were still officially employed.

These actions landed him in court again on charges of disobeying an eviction order.

“But luckily, this time I had a lawyer who put forward a very convincing argument.
“I told the court the people could not chase me from that farm, because I was the one that was providing food for the very people who were chasing me away.”This time the court found in favour of Solomon, but he is afraid to go back to the CPA farm for fear of intimidation.

“That’s how I ended up on the present farm. I hire the farm from the trust on a five-year lease contract.
“At first some of the members of the trust were reluctant, but they had seen how successful I had farmed on the CPA farm and I was granted permission to lease the land.”

Solomon is now looking to government to allocate a suitable farm to him on which he can carry on farming without fear of eviction.

“I know I have proven that I can farm successfully. All I want is to be able to settle on a farm and be allowed to produce food. That is what farming is all about.”

Le Lézard: Fairfax Africa – Initial Public Offering Update

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Jan. 17, 2017) – Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (TSX:FFH)(TSX:FFH.U) (“Fairfax Financial”) and Fairfax Africa Holdings Corporation (“Fairfax Africa” or the “Company”) announce that the Company has filed an amended and restated preliminary prospectus (the “preliminary prospectus”) with the securities regulatory authorities of all provinces and territories in Canada, and obtained a receipt therefor, in respect of its initial public offering (the “Offering”) of subordinate voting shares (“Subordinate Voting Shares”).

Fairfax Africa is an investment holding company. Its investment objective is to achieve long-term capital appreciation, while preserving capital, by investing in public and private equity securities and debt instruments of African businesses or other businesses with customers, suppliers or business primarily conducted in, or dependent on, Africa (“African Investments”). Generally, subject to compliance with applicable law, African Investments will be made with a view of acquiring control or significant influence positions.

Fairfax Financial has taken the initiative to create the Company. Fairfax Financial is a holding company which, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and investment management.

In addition to the public offering of Subordinate Voting Shares, and as a condition to the closing of the Offering, the Company will issue to Fairfax Financial, either directly, or to one or more of Fairfax Financial’s subsidiaries, the lesser of (i) 30,000,000 multiple voting shares and (ii) 30% of the post-offering equity capital of the Company, on a private placement basis, in exchange for cash consideration from Fairfax Financial and the contribution by Fairfax Financial of its indirect interest in AFGRI Proprietary Limited (“AFGRI”). Based in South Africa, AFGRI is a leading agricultural services and food processing company with a core focus on grain commodities. Further, cornerstone investors have committed to subscribe for, on a private placement basis, approximately US$116 million of Subordinate Voting Shares. The aggregate equity commitment by the cornerstone investors, together with Fairfax Financial, is up to approximately US$416 million.

RBC Capital Markets is acting as Global Coordinator for the Offering in Canada and the United States. RBC Capital Markets, Citigroup and UBS are acting as Joint Global Coordinators and bookrunners for the Offering in EMEA and elsewhere outside of Canada and the United States. RBC Capital Markets, Citigroup, UBS, BMO Capital Markets, CIBC Capital Markets, National Bank Financial Inc., Scotiabank and TD Securities Inc. are acting as joint bookrunners for the Offering in North America, with Canaccord Genuity Corp., Cormark Securities Inc., Desjardins Capital Markets, GMP Securities L.P., Raymond James Ltd., Dundee Capital Partners and Manulife Securities Incorporated acting as co-managers.

The preliminary prospectus has not yet become final for the purpose of a distribution of securities to the public. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale or acceptance of an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to the time a receipt for the final prospectus or other authorization is obtained from the securities commission or similar authority in such jurisdiction. This press release is not an offer of securities for sale in the United States, and the securities may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration. The securities have not been and will not be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933. A copy of the preliminary prospectus is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Completion of the Company’s initial public offering is subject to the receipt of customary approvals, including regulatory approvals.


Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, which reflects Fairfax Financial’s and the Company’s current expectations regarding future events. Forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Fairfax Financial’s or the Company’s control, that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those that are disclosed in or implied by such forward-looking information. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, failure to complete the Offering and related transactions, and the factors discussed under “Risk Factors” in the amended and restated preliminary prospectus of the Company dated January 17, 2017. Neither Fairfax Financial nor the Company undertake any obligation to update such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable law.

Botha to leave Vodacom Bulls after Vodacom Super Rugby campaign

The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Monday confirmed that loose forward Arno Botha will leave the franchise at the end of the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby season. Botha will link up with Ulster.

The High Performance Manager of the BBC, Xander Janse van Rensburg, said that Botha, who has played for the Vodacom Bulls 46 times in his career so far, will finish the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby season with the team before joining up with the Irish. “Arno received a very good offer from Ulster. We have been in constant discussions with Arno about his future since 2016.

“We want to thank him for his contribution, we are thankful and proud of what he has done. The situation is that we can’t financially make an offer close to what he’s currently earning. Luckily we have great players coming through that we will be investing in,” Janse van Rensburg said.

“He is still a big player for us in the coming months and we are expecting some meaningful contributions from him as we embark on a tough Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.”

Janse van Rensburg wished Botha well. “We know he will be successful with Ulster. He is a very professional player. Both parties are in unison that it’s the best move for him at this stage of his career.”

Botha said he was comfortable with the decision. “I have achieved such a lot with the Vodacom Bulls and will give my all to help the team to try and win the Vodacom Super Rugby title in 2017, something that has eluded me so far in my career. I am only leaving at the end of the campaign and is highly motivated to deliver for the team. The decision to move to Ulster was taken after considerable thought from my side and I feel it is the right time in my career to feel what rugby in the Northern Hemisphere is all about. Till then, I am as passionate about the Bulls as I have ever been.”

For more information, please call Xander Janse van Rensburg at 072 197 3136.