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Business Practices Committee Report 75

Alpha Club

1. Introduction



On 17 September 1997 the Minister of Trade and Industry (the Minister), after considering Report 56 (1) by the Business Practices Committee (2) (the Committee), published Notice 1350 in Government Gazette 18292. In this notice the Minister declared a number of business practices unlawful (3). The parties who were directed to refrain from applying the harmful business practices were Newport LLC, Newport Business Club (Pty) Ltd, Newport Business Club (Newport), Martin Bradley, Wayne Bradley, Clancy Conner, Els Dijkstra, Elaine Douglas, Rob Edward, Paul Farrally, Ben Glas, Richard King, Bob Mitchell, Robert Prichard, Peter Sealey and Steven Sweeney and/or any member, partner, agent, representative, employee or any other person on their behalf.


On 17 November 1997 the Committee received a fax from a consumer who alleged that he was invited to a Newport meeting on 22 November 1997. He further claimed that he was told that Newport was now legal because it was "affiliated" with a travel agency. On 18 November 1997 the Committee received a copy of an article about Alpha Club that was published in a Cape Town newspaper. On 19 November 1997 Mr L Louw (4) (Louw), briefly informed the Committee about a new venture called Alpha Club. Issues raised by Louw are quoted from the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 19 November 1997.


"Mr Peter Sealey (5) of Newport Business Club approached Louw to meet with the Committee. Louw discussed certain issues, for example the involvement of Interpol, with Newport. John Carway, a very wealthy person who was at loggerheads with the Irish Government was the main role player behind Newport. Carway was keen to meet the Committee. The possible liquidation of Newport was mentioned resulting in the transfer of all assets to Alpha Club. The newspaper "Beeld" published on article an the new developments before Newport could inform and/or meet the Committee. Alpha was considered as the new vehicle whereby timesharing will be sold. Alpha did have a contract with RCI. Alpha owned timesharing which will be banked with RCI.A figure of nine to ten thousand resorts world wide was mentioned. The present members of Newport would be able to use their R14 000 investments in Newport by making use of the timesharing offers. The La Brie investment will remain in place.

Sanlameer was one of the resorts in question. Alpha has a lot of credit with RCI. New members will be recruited to join Alpha at R16 000 per recruit Newport would prefer to lose the litigation instituted against the Committee as the situation would then fit in better with their new plans. A concern called Marketing for Success did become involved in the affairs of Alpha Club and acquired the 20 percent interest which Newport held in the en commandite partnerships between Newport and its members".


1. See Report 56: Newport Business Club (Pty) Ltd and Others, published under Notice 1349 in Government Gazette 18292, dated 17 September 1997. This report on Marketing for Success, trading as Alpha Club, could be regarded as a sequel to Report 56, and would be better understood should the reader were to first study Report 56.


2. The Committee was established in terms of section 2 of the Harmful Business Practices Act, 71 of 1988 ("the Act"). The purpose of the Act is to provide for the prohibition or control of certain business practices and for matters connected therewith.


3. Report 56: page 51.


4. Mr Louw is the executive director of the Free Market Foundation. He was also a consultant to Newport.


5. Mr Peter Sealey, a solicitor from England, was a legal advisor to Newport.