Motor Cars and Mourning


Driving down to Inchanga yesterday to fetch two dozen Simon Stone paintings to photograph for a monograph Smac Gallery are planning on this master of colour, we passed the wrecks of two burnt out lorries and their containers.  The nameless bureaucrats who destroyed the SA railways to such an extent that national roads are now tarmac railways with motor cars playing dodgem with these high speed goliaths, have a lot to answer for.  Arriving in Cato Ridge, we received the sad news that Remgro CEO Thys Visser was killed in a head-on collision on the N1 outside Rawsonville; a Princess Diana moment.  How is it possible that the CEO of one of SA’s largest industrial concerns is killed in a car or a Princess dies in a tunnel in Paris?

thys 300x151 Motor Cars and Mourning

And how ironic that Remgro chairman Johann Rupert, proprietor of the excellent motor museum on L’Ormarins, should lose first a brother Anthonij and now a trusted lieutenant to the invention of Ferdinand Verbiest, a Jesuit missionary to China, who built a steam-powered car in 1672 for the Chinese Emperor.  Anthonij and Thys were the same age and died 11 years apart.

As CEO of the largest shareholder in Distell, Thys was in no small way responsible for the stellar performance of the largest drinks corporate in SA in these challenging financial times.  To see just how important good management is in the booze business, compare and contrast the fortunes of Distell with those of KWV, the Company of Wine People or just about any Co-op.  SA wine is having a torrid time at the minute: the SA government has declared war on alcohol while exports of bottled wine are tanking.  The steady hand of Thys on the tiller will be sorely missed.