/ 24 February 2011

Who’s behind Horizons?

Afripalm Horizons is 51% owned by Afripalm Resources, according to one of its directors, Menzi Mbatha.

Afripalm Resources’ largest shareholder is Lazarus Zim, its founder and chairperson.

When the company did a major deal with listed Mvelaphanda Resources in 2007, his stake was put at 30% in a shareholder circular. The circular said that the Oakbay Trust, a Gupta family vehicle, held 15%.

But who owns the other 49% of Afripalm Horizons? Neither Mbatha nor Zim would say this week, but Mbatha was quoted by the Sunday Times, when commenting on an unrelated infrastructure deal, as saying that Mabengela Investments would “have all the shares”.

Mabengela, named after a hill overlooking President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, is controlled by Duduzane Zuma and Tony Gupta.

Duduzane is a major shareholder in Mabengela — holding up to 50%, according to a source close to the company.

The composition of Afripalm Horizons’ board confirms the Zuma and Gupta shareholding. The directors, according to Cipro, are Zim, Mbatha, Duduzane Zuma and Tony Gupta.