Friday, January 22, 2021

Wilderness shareholders reject Parks Tafa

The Wilderness Holdings Limited shareholders have snubbed prominent local attorney – Parks Tafa.

Tafa is said to have submitted his name for re-election to the board of the BSE and JSE quoted tourism outfit at its Annual General Meeting held in the capital Gaborone recently.

In a shareholder note released late Friday afternoon by the board of directors, it was revealed that while all items on the AGM agenda were approved by the requisite majority of votes, Parks Tafa’s bid to be re-elected as director was rejected.

Leading up to the AGM, Tafa, who served as chairman of the ecotourism company was set to retire as director as part of the company’s constitution which requires at least one third of the directors retire by rotation from the board at the annual general meeting. Other directors who were due to retire from the board included Malcolm McCulloch and Gavin Tollman.

Under ordinary resolution number two, the three directors, both eligible, had offered themselves for re-election at the ninth annual general meeting that was slated for the 30th August. However, Tollman dropped out after he resigned from the board since he no longer had vested interest in the safari company. Until late July, the Tollman family was the largest single shareholder in Wilderness Holdings through Wine Investments Limited, their investment company. In July, the Tollman disposed of their entire shareholding in Wilderness Holdings after they sold their shares to The Rise Fund, a social impact investment fund managed by TPG Growth.

Now according to the minutes of the meeting that was held, Derek De La Harpe, the acting chairman, proposed that McCulloch and Tafa be re-elected as directors. While McCulloch was re-appointed director, the axe fell on Parks Tafa. The company did not provide how shareholders voted, save to state that his re-election was not approved.

Tafa was then in accordance with the constitution retired as a director by rotation with effect from 30 August 2018. Tafa joined the board since Wilderness’s listing in 2010 and became chairman in 2013. He was largely seen as the company’s key ally in the country as he had swaying influence and understood the country’s dynamics owed to years of experience as a successful lawyer and had access to top decision makers.

The snubbing of Tafa at the general meeting follows reports of his failing health. In fact at the opening of the general meeting, the acting chairman indicated that Tafa as chairman of the board could not make it to the meeting due to poor health. Reports of Tafa’s health were first made public in the company’s 2017 annual report when Michael Tollman, then deputy chairman, wrote the chairman’s statement on his behalf, while also reporting that he has been acting on behalf of Tafa who has been indisposed due to poor health.

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