Just one week after winning the $40 million South African Tourism account [WAMN: 30-May-01], Johannesburg-based TBWA Hunt Lascaris has sold a 25% stake to a black-owned investment company controlled by Cyril Ramaphosa, a member of the nation’s political establishment and unsuccessful contender for the throne vacated by Nelson Mandela four years back.

Ramaphosa's stake, together with a minuscule two per cent currently held by black staff at the agency, lifts the shop’s black “empowerment” element to the magic 27% required of agencies handling South African government business. “Empowerment” in this context means that a shop is part-owned by black investors and conducts affirmative action programmes.

TBWA HL is also pitching for the account of South African Airways, which has specified a minimum of 26% black ownership for competing agencies. Says agency founder Reg Lascaris: “Empowerment is a small price to pay for peace in South Africa and for the sake of spreading wealth.”

Ramaphosa, one of the ruling elite of controlling political party, the African National Congress, also chairs leading South African media company Johnnic Holdings.

News source: AdAge Global