Roger Kebble reported suspended from executive post at Durban

Section:

South Africa locks the door on DRD chief executive

By Andrew Davidson
Business Report, South Africa
www.busrep.co.za
Monday, March 4, 2002

Johannesburg -- A harassed, frustrated, and confused Mark
Wellesley-Wood, the British chief executive of local gold
producer Durban Roodepoort Deep (DRD), was at his family
home outside London last night waiting to hear if and when
he could return to South Africa.

A senior official of the department of home affairs called
DRD's attorneys on Friday, the day after Wellesley-Wood
left South Africa, saying he was prohibited from re-entering
the country. No reasons were given.

Wellesley-Wood told Business Report last night: "I'm
beginning to feel like Coleman Andrews [the former SAA
boss who left the country after being paid out millions of
rands]. But seriously, I don't know whether this is a
bureaucratic cockup with people getting their wires crossed,
or if it's a case of me being a political hot potato.

"I have been portrayed as a white fat cat making a huge
salary package from the sweat of black mineworkers. It's
just not true. ... I had taken over a company that was
teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and which people had
written off, and turned it into a successful one worth over
R5 billion."

He said it made him wonder if some in South Africa really
wanted people like him to "fix companies and secure jobs."

Wellesley-Wood has just bought a new house near former
president Nelson Mandela's home in Houghton,
Johannesburg. "My wife and family had planned to come
down to South Africa this week to start furnishing it," he
said.

"I was due to return to Johannesburg on Tuesday but I
will wait to hear from the lawyers. I have done nothing
illegal.

"Litigation being issued by DRD in South Africa against
various parties is imminent and it is very important that I
am present in the country for this."

DRD's law firm Bowman Gilfillan has sought an urgent
meeting with the director-general of home affairs for
today in a bid to resolve the issue.

DRD said a news report yesterday claiming that
Wellesley-Wood had been served with deportation
orders and ordered out of South Africa was "completely
untrue."

James Duncan, a spokesperson for DRD, said: "On
January 23, 2001, following Wellesley-Wood's
appointment as [chief executive], DRD wrote to the
department of home affairs to inquire about his work
permit/visa requirements.

"The company was advised in a letter, 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.

"In a letter dated January 16 this year, the department
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 February 1.

"He was issued with a letter by the commission
permitting him to enter South Africa for holiday and
business purposes while his application was being
considered."