In Memory of Ouboet March 20th of 1938 to August 22nd of 2009

There are days one can never erase; this is one that will be remembered even long after I have gone.

To say that I have had no role models would not be quite true. Our Dad was in his last years the man I admired most; he was strict, strong but of the kind and the times when you obeyed your father even if you didn’t agree. He had lived during harsh times in a harsh world in the harshest of all circumstances and I regret that I first found out that I loved him in the last few years of his life when I discovered that I didn’t know everything as I thought I did about seven years earlier. We enjoyed each other with complete faith in one another then but had only three years of that before he died when I had just reached 27 years of age.

By that time Ouboet was a man and the undisputed leader of the clan although he rejected the notion. He lived a resolute life; never made one single mistake and started building a small fortune in a trust by his wits and dedication to sound financial principles not based on but in line with the philosophy of Warren Buffet long before this great man became as well known as he is today.

The Company he worked for had by 1990 grown into one of the two largest financial conglomerates in South Africa. Early 1994 he amazed some and annoyed a few others in management by announcing his serious objections to investment in what he termed Internet Money and also questioned the way management was handling investment of their Pensioners Medical Aid money; he was in a very senior position then and also managed the affairs of the Pensioners Medical Aid Fund

The massive Conglomerate was stunned and offered to promote him; he confounded them by promptly refusing to accept the bribe; that in turn left them with no alternative but to fire him but the Pensioners Medical Aid held all the trump cards and played them by unanimously electing him as Chairman of the Medical Aid. The Conglomerate was so stunned by this that they were actually glad when Ouboet asked for early retirement from the Company one year after taking up Chairmanship of the Pensioners Medical Aid Fund.

He would eventually be re-elected in this position year after year while fighting for their rights against the Company he had worked with for 38 years.

Had he not become ill he would have seen victory but he only just missed it; just more than a year after he passed on a High Court Judge ruled in favor of the Medical Aid Fund and ordered the Conglomerate to find an appropriate agreement on the final quantum of the claim by the Medical Aid Fund and to pay.

Having known him for so long I am sure he would have grunted a laugh at the way victory came; it was all done in Chambers behind closed doors; the press was never invited. I am sure they were told with all the power of the judiciary not to publish anything but Ouboet was never a man for publicity anyway. He always just put his head down, refused to back off when he thought he was right and pursued what he considered the right course.

Sometimes I feel that he never really left us; when cousin Jannie passed on this past Monday I talked to Ouboet for solace because I felt lonely for the first time in my life.

https://ikejakson.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/jannie-koegelenberg-april-10th-1968-to-march-16th-2015/

The two of them met only once but I am sure that they will guide me on what I must now do with a large conglomerate that overstepped the mark in my life.

In the meantime it is still Ouboet’s birthday today. The clan will not forget.

 ikejakson@gmail.com

 

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