Trust to get Shuttleworth's R250m - TechCentral

Trust to get Shuttleworth’s R250m

Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth will give away the more than R250m the South African Reserve Bank must have him following a bruising battle at the supreme court of appeal in Bloemfontein.

The Internet billionaire said in a blog post on Wednesday that he will commit all the funds returned to him by the Reserve Bank to a trust that will selectively fund cases on behalf of those unable to do so themselves where the counterparty is the state.

“The mandate of this trust will extend beyond South African borders to address constitutional rights for African citizens at large, on the grounds that our future in South Africa is in every way part of that great continent.”

Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that the supreme court of appeal had directed the Reserve Bank to pay Shuttleworth R250m plus interest. He paid a levy of R250m when he took R2,5bn of his money out of the country in 2009.

In his blog post, Shuttleworth said: “Exchange controls may appear to be targeted at a very small number of South Africans but their consequences are significant for all of us, especially those who are building relationships across Southern Africa such as migrant workers and small businesses seeking to participate in the growth of our continent. It is more expensive to work across South African borders than almost anywhere else on Earth, purely because the framework of exchange controls creates a cartel of banks authorised to act as the agents of the Reserve Bank in currency matters.

“We all pay a very high price for that cartel, and derive no real benefit in currency stability or security for that cost.

“Banks profit from exchange controls, but our economy is stifled, and the most vulnerable suffer most of all. Everything you buy is more expensive, South Africans are less globally competitive, and cross-border labourers, already vulnerable, pay the highest price of all – a shame we should work to address.”

Shuttleworth continued: “Today’s ruling by the supreme court of appeal found administrative and procedural fault with the Reserve Bank’s actions in regards to me, and returned the fees levied, for which I am grateful. This case, however, was not filed solely in pursuit of relief for me personally. We are now considering the continuation of the case in the constitutional court, to challenge exchange control on constitutional grounds and ensure that the benefits of today’s ruling accrue to all South Africans.”

Explaining his reason to hand over the money to a trust, he said: “This is a time in our history when it will be increasingly important to defend constitutional rights. Historically, these are largely questions related to the balance of power between the state and the individual. For all the eloquence of our constitution, it will be of little benefit to us all if it cannot be made binding on our government. It is expensive to litigate at the constitutional level, which means that such cases are imbalanced – the state has the resources to make its argument, but the individual often does not.”

He said exchange controls prevent him from doing the work he wants to pursue from South Africa. The controls were the reason he emigrated. “I pursue this case in the hope that the next generation of South Africans who want to build small but global operations will be able to do so without leaving the country. In our modern, connected world, and our modern connected country, that is the right outcome for all South Africans.”  — © 2014 NewsCentral Media


  1. Forgive my preconception that you were just being greedy. Dying to see what happens at the constitutional court – fingers crossed

  2. Evolutionary Games on

    Okay, this sounds great but where is the Reserve Bank going to get the R250 million odd now … is the repo rate about to go up or our taxes?! Or will they install e-toll gantries that you have to pay to enter a bank so that they can recover this money to pay it over?

  3. Magomarele Gomi Thobejane on

    Well done Mark for winning the case against this greedy ANC regime. They milk the hard-working people out so that they can enrich themselves and build a palace for their useless president.

  4. Corporate coolness…………..Mark can do this because his success is not based on connected relationships into SA market like many of the other wealthy people in SA. IT business environment in SA needs exchange control removed desperately to have a chance to get to global success so you don’t have to plan the SA exit move.

  5. Unfortunately these laws come from the old nationalist government. The ANC has just continued with this to fund their socialist notions. Show me one good government in the world, they are all corrupt to a degree. True freedom will never be there for human beings while governments are everywhere. Unfortunately it is our own laziness or lack of social cohesion that give governments such power.

    During a tax talk in February I was amazed to see how much revenue the state generates from the banking sector. What does banks produce and create? They drain resources from the people in the form of interests and fees which in turn get heavily taxed to fund the socialist government to pay for all their unproductive expenditure.

  6. Greg Thornton on

    Forgive my preconception that you’re stupid.

    How is donating R380m being greedy?

  7. No, Elon left SA to skip National Service. Mark has always been more rooted. Even while working abroad he is much more connected to SA. Elon was born in SA, that’s it.

  8. Arno Van Der Walt on

    Elon is still South African born and educated. He is among TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. He would not have achieved that living in SA. Many SA entrepreneurs are now sitting in US and I still consider them as SA entrepreneurs.

  9. When one reads that he was challenging the levy, but then have no idea what he plans to do with it when he wins, one possible interpretation is that he is being greedy.

  10. Greg Thornton on

    What are you going on about?

    The title of this article reads that he’s giving away the R380m. How would you have “no idea what he plans to do with [the money]”?

  11. Evolutionary Games on

    So you’re assuming they would have kept it safely aside and I’m assuming they would’ve spent the money a long time ago!
    Having watched the government now for a few years, I’m leaning more towards my assumption. But there is a remote possibility that you’re right.

  12. People who have been following this since the challenge was announced, several years ago, would know that it was happening, but not what he planned to do once he won.

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