* Investigation involves 2010 black empowerment deal
* Gold Fields says transaction did not meet its standards
* Black empowerment a policy of ruling ANC government
By David Dolan and Ed Stoddard
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 10 South African bullion
producer Gold Fields said on Tuesday it was being
investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over
a $210 million black empowerment deal involving a senior member
of the ruling party.
Gold Fields, which is also listed in the United States and
so subject to scrutiny from U.S. regulators, said in a statement
it was being probed over the 2010 deal and the granting of a
mining licence for its South Deep mine near Johannesburg.
The 2.1 billion rand ($210 million) transaction saw Gold
Fields give a 9 percent stake in South Deep to a group of black
investors to meet government targets for black economic
empowerment (BEE), including black ownership.
The ruling African National Congress has championed BEE to
redress the inequalities left by white-minority rule, which
ended in 1994.
Critics say BEE has mainly benefited a narrow elite of
politically connected individuals and failed to transform what
is still one of the world's most unequal societies.
The South Deep deal has come under particular scrutiny
because the beneficiaries include ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete,
as well as relatives of anti-apartheid heroes including Nelson
The ANC said in a statement it was considering legal action
against the Mail & Guardian newspaper for an article last week
that alleged Mbete used her political clout to benefit from the
Gold Fields, South Africa's second-biggest gold producer by
revenue, said last month an independent investigation found the
implementation of the transaction did not meet it own standards
and Chief Executive Nick Holland has waived his 2013 bonus as a
The company has not released the results of the
investigation, which it commissioned following local press
reports about the deal.
Former Gold Fields chairwoman Mamphela Ramphele - who has
since founded a party to challenge the ANC - told the Business
Day newspaper in March the firm had come under government
pressure to include specific shareholders in the deal.
Gold Fields has said Ramphele's comments represent her
Holland himself told Business Day in 2012: "In discussing
the details around South Deep we got stuck: there were certain
people who decided they had a lot of power and authority and
they were going to wield it."
The company has said it wanted to identify people who had
"contributed to the successful and peaceful transition to
democracy in South Africa," as beneficiaries for the deal.
The deal has also made headlines because of the
participation of Gayton McKenzie, a flashy
ex-convict-turned-businessman and motivational speaker.
McKenzie wrote in his 2013 book "A Hustler's Bible" that he
was "appointed to lead the Gold Fields mining licence
"I made them understand that they had a big problem at their
company with their licence application," he wrote.
Gold Fields has dismissed allegations that McKenzie used his
influence to place politically connected individuals in the deal
in order to secure a licence for South Deep.
"It is critical to note that the South Deep licence was
awarded before the participants in the BEE consortium were
finalised," the company said in a statement last year.
Shares of Gold Fields were down 0.9 percent at 51.80 rand at