The disgraced former CEO of Steinhoff Markus Jooste not only had business secrets. For years, the talkative elites of Stellenbosch and Hermanus have been whispering about the dark side of the "family man" with the golden smile.
The "other woman", too, is a golden girl. His blond hair bathed in the sun turns towards the sun in all his Facebook photos.
You have the perfect setting for your seemingly perfect life: a luxury apartment in Bantry Bay with a glass-walled pool right next to the ocean; a yacht sailing happily through the Mediterranean on one of its polo holidays in Europe.
Berdine Odendaal, 34, seems to spend his days on a horse, smoking and reading books while living the good life in the pristine Val de Finca Vie Polo near Paarl, where he owns several properties, and a luxury apartment in Bantry Bay.
Get the best stories and blog posts sent to me by email every day. Newsletters can offer personalized content or advertisements.
He also leads a charmed life. In all your images, your hair is perfect. His smile, while holding innumerable trophies of horse racing, is very clear. It was a "boytjie" without airs and thanks.
An amazing thing to say about a man who a year ago figured on the list of having a net worth of $ 400 million (R5.8 billion) and who has lost countless South Africans millions of rands.
The golden girl and the trophy would be, in theory, a perfect match.
Except that Markus Jooste (56) is the "perfect" married man. And the golden girl is not his wife.
"Everyone was talking about the girlfriend flying in helicopters," said a source in his social circle.
She supposedly lives in the department of Bantry Bay, which is linked to Jooste. According to records in the deeds office, Odendaal and Jooste also share the same post office box in Pretoria: PO Box 17328, Groenkloof, Pretoria. Jooste, his wife Ingrid and Odendaal also list the same post office box in Somerset-West: PO Box 902, Somerset Mall.
AN ENCHANTED LIFE
Odendaal is a regular figure in polo circles and has competed in Argentina, while attending social events related to sport in the playground of the rich man of St Tropez, France. Old Khaki, the clothing brand, described Odendaal as "the epitome of urban cold" during Mercedes-Benz fashion week in March of this year.
Jooste is a great player in the local horse racing scene. He has said he owns between 200 and 250 racehorses and has a stake in a cattle ranch called Klawervlei near Bonnievale in the Western Cape.
Media24 contacted Odendaal about the nature of his relationship with Jooste, a married father of three children, but declined to provide details. She replied twice, "no comment", when asked about Jooste and the property in Bantry Bay. Jooste was also contacted by phone and WhatsApp, but he did not respond.
A Steinhoff spokesman said: "Markus Jooste is no longer a Steinhoff employee and, in any case, we can not comment on speculation about his private life."  Jooste seemed to have an impeccable reputation. As the CEO of Steinhoff, a multi-billion dollar international furniture company, countless shareholders and pension funds relied on him to his detriment.
Jooste was not just a CEO. Before giving up Steinhoff International last week on Wednesday, seeing R194 trillion dollars disappear from the company, he was the face of the conglomerate.
When the pension funds invested their money in Steinhoff, it was not just the business part of the company they were investing in. In part, they were investing in Jooste.
He served as CEO of the company since 1988 and had overseen an expansion that made Steinhoff the second largest homeware retailer in Europe.
When life was good, it was very good for him. Jooste became the list of the 20 highest-paid executives in the country in South Africa. He was included in the number 18 with earnings of R38.4 million in 2015.
It seemed that, like in his business world, where on the one hand he was a successful CEO of a highly successful conglomerate company, while supposedly secretly be "creative" with the audit; his private life also contained some great secrets.
LINKS BETWEEN JOOSTE AND ODENDAAL
Odendaal, which has 10 properties registered in its name in Val de Vie, allegedly calls Bantry Bay home. Images of her enjoying the sunsets and swimming in a pool in the exclusive suburb of Cape Town appear on her Facebook page.
Stefan Potgieter, Jooste's son-in-law who handles his affairs through a company called Mayfair Speculators, confirmed that Jooste has "an arrangement" with a friend who owns an apartment in Bantry Bay.
"I do not know who lives in the apartment, I simply manage the property on behalf of Coy & s Properties, which is owned by Malcolm King, a friend of Jooste," said Potgieter.
Coy & # 39; s Properties has an apartment in Bantry Bay purchased for R21.5 million in 2012. It has the same address that Odendaal has listed as its residential address.
Potgieter explained that he had never "met Odendaal" and that he knew nothing about her.
"I only make sure that asset [the apartment] is met and that Coy & # 39; s Properties, on behalf of King, receives rental income." Arrangements around the apartment are from Jooste's private business. "
Potgieter and King are also part of the board of directors of Lanzerac Investments. Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch used to be part of Christo Wiese's portfolio. Wiese is a close friend of Jooste and is currently the CEO of Steinhoff.
Apart from horses and airplanes, Jooste seems to have invested most of his wealth in property.
Under its name, it has two properties. One is a stand of 92,432 square meters on the Val De Vie estate, which was purchased in 2016 for R10.5 million.
Val de Vie is a farm on the outskirts of Paarl and is described on its website as in a valley dotted with vineyards, fruit trees and olive groves, with the Drakenstein and Simonsberg mountains as a backdrop.
"It is favored by many high-profile people and some of the elite of society, who choose to escape the bustle of the city, while remaining close enough for a daily trip to Cape Town."
According to scriptural records, the land was joined twice by R46 million and, again, by R65 million. Google Maps shows that it is a large area of land that has not yet been developed.
Jooste has a series of properties under the name of a Hermanus company, with 25 of them listed in Cape Town, Calitzdorp, Hermanus and Jamestown. more than R40 million.
His wife, Ingrid, on the other hand, only appears to own a townhouse in Stellenbosch, which was purchased in May this year for R2.7 million.
Little is publicly known about Ingrid, apart from her co-ownership with Jooste on racehorses.
In an interview at the Sporting Post a few years ago, they asked Jooste if his wife had been interested in horse racing through him, or if he was always interested in that. He replied: "Ingrid really was not interested, but now she's going to see our horses run."
STELLENBOSCH & # 39; SAID OF ODENDAAL & # 39;
According to impeccable sources, the whole of Stellenbosch knew about the matter of Jooste.
Odendaal was not exactly hiding his lifestyle.
In photos on the internet, she is seen in polo, which is described as "effortless", on the way to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and is cataloged as the owner of an architectural drawing of a huge property in the website of an architect.
Those who know Odendaal saw her driving a custom silver Bentley and a white Ferrari and talked about her two Argentine polo ponies. She also has 11 properties listed under her name.
Ten of them are located on the same property as Val De Vie where Jooste owns land. Each property was purchased for an average price of R3.3m. She does not seem to work.
JOOSTE & # 39; NOT A DUE DILIGENCE GUY & # 39;
In one of the few in-depth interviews Jooste ever did, he told Alec Hogg in an article that appeared in BizNews last year, which had come a long way since his early years as a deep accounting graduate indebted.
"His star career began when he was appointed CFO of a publicly traded company in 20 years, and progressed as he soaked lessons from German businessman Claas Daun," wrote BizNews
He was 27 when he became the financial director of GommaGomma, where his path crossed with Daun, and he invested in them.
"I think you have to have a lot of passion and momentum, and in a way, I was very lucky to be very hungry." I left the university with R100,000 of study debt, but with a qualification as a public accountant. That's the part of the money that was lost a long time ago for me, it's the emotion, the people, being in a business where ten of the other executives are your best friends is unique. " Jooste said.
Jooste said in the interview that it was not a "kind of due diligence".
"If you have to count the stocks, read the leases, verify the property deeds, you should never have considered it. First, the critical part is human due diligence and that's where I spend 90% of my weather ".
Jooste also said that there were "more than 100 men around the world with all their wealth". in Steinhoff. "
He was at the top of his game for years and it seems he did not stop with the jet-set lifestyle.
The most public part of his life was his passion for horse racing, which he inherited from his father who worked in a post office. He was a prominent horse racing owner who spread his wings abroad, participating in races in Australia, Europe, England and Ireland.
In May of this year, it was reported in the British newspaper The Sun that Jooste had bought a hill to see his horse Douglas Macarthur runs in the Epsom Derby.
The story said that, instead of buying a ticket to watch the race, he bought a hill.
The famous Epsom Hill area of the field was renamed Poundland Hill after Investec reached an agreement with Steinhoff International, which owns the street retailer.
His racehorse, The Conglomerate, which he bought for R1.6m in Australia, won Durban July last year.
Jooste is listed as an active director of 16 companies and, according to sources, recently purchased a $ 22 million Gulfstream G550 jet. Curiously, the plane flew for the last time on December 3 from Frankfurt, Germany, where Steinhoff's offices are located, to Cape Town.
Suggest a correction