Mrs Scam Afrika
HOW ‘MRS. SOUTH AFRICA’ BECAME AN UGLY PAGEANT
- Why would happily married women participate in beauty pageantry?
- Hold onto your judgements our initial investigations indicated that there would have been no shorter way of telling this gory story effectively, so we sought the assistance of this Continent's foremost inter-generational communicator, Tony Mocham who graciously agreed to relay it. We urge you to hold your judgements until you take this journey with Tony. Don’t ask why they allowed themselves to be on the ride to nowhere in the first place – they are all victims; all one hundred of them.
- Since the 1990s Beijing Women Conference, the buzzword has been 'women empowerment'. Unfortunately, those of the female gender who have been empowered, as a result, can be counted on our fingers and toes. The majority of them are still being dragged behind by our acts of Commission or Commission; being silent is not an option.
- Entities have popped up with pledges to empower women only to do the opposite. Yes, the latest scheme designed by a set of other women has been trolling some seemingly already empowered women with offers to enhance their empowerment. By the time the entrapped women open their eyes a few minutes into the bungee dive, they discover that the ropes they have been hooked onto were factory rejects that cannot hold their body weight.
- They are falling and crashing fast on a hard surface. But since authorities are now looking, there would be no more victims. Please enjoy the jump with Tony
- NB. This piece contains some strong language that may offend sensitive readers.
Imagine being a woman in your 40s and ‘happily married’; it's on a clear sky December day in Johannesburg. You are at a golf course called the Glendower Golf Club, running around in a bikini like a well-toned middle-aged female caddie. Hold on just there and stop imagining because this is a true story.
Instead of chasing little white balls, in your bikini, you are actually chasing the title of ‘Mrs. South Africa.’
By this point, you have bought into the fantasy idea that you are a finalist of Mrs South Africa! and there are one hundred of you.
To get closer to winning this pointless title, you and fellow contestants must buy “4 golf balls” for R6 000.00, and you have been sold a ‘watering hole’ that you are ‘manning’ for an additional R4 000.00 rand (not to mention catering for your own pasture, watering and corkage from the golf club) – and that R10 000 has to be deposited directly into the account of ‘Mrs South Africa’, owned by a blonde called Joani Johnson, who turned 40 in January 2021.
Mark you, your numbers have just been cut down to 75 so-called finalists, so the money being aced by this company, and sourced from contestants for the ‘crown,’ sums up to R750 000 from the golf day alone. A hole-in-one...
Just 8 km from the Glendower Golf Club, or a 10-minute drive down the road, is Bedfordview.
But if you look at the BIG picture, with all the polished older model looks of Joani Johnson and her all-female assistants like Marlene Reddy, then the details of the deals they press onto their contestants begin to get murky – and the scene begins to resemble the glam Netflix crime series the ‘Bedford Wives.’
In October 2012, Joani Johnson registered a company called MRS SA Beauty Pageant (PTY), with the declared aim of running a beauty pageant for happily married women. The entry requirements are a non-refundable R500, which is fine; but also a portfolio showing the female applicants' business prowess.
The latter should be the first red flag for any contestant entering Mrs South Africa.
Because the contestant's business contacts and financial networks are what Ms Johnson will prey upon for this year-long championship, like a plundering praying mantis, to tease and torture the contestants while extracting as much Rand as she can out of every one of them.
The selected applicants are called the Top 100.
They are then assigned various tasks, most of them fundraising oriented, with the money going straight into the coffers of Ms Johnson and her beauty pageant company, and she is not ashamed to say the following in black and white in a ‘confidential’ Finalists’ Operation Manual.
“During each phase of the competition, you will be expected to raise a certain amount of capital that will go towards the company’s overheads such as salaries, petrol costs, phone bills, not to mention production, TV and events' costs, as well as our official charity Women4Women.”
"Women for Women" is a non-profit company that Ms Johnson had registered in 2017 as a charity aimed at women empowerment.
To qualify for tax exemption, a non-profit company in South Africa must have at least four unrelated directors, but in the case of ‘Women4Women,' the 4 directors and auditor are either related, in relationships with each other or involved in what Mrs Jada-Pinkett Smith called ‘entanglements’.
Chandre Goosen-Joubert, also affectionately known as ‘Lady G’, is a brand ambassador for multiple companies, model and motivational speaker. She was also declared the Mrs Charity in the recently 'concluded' Mrs South Africa, a titled she disavowed after waking up from her slumber and courageously coming out to speak against the psychological extortion of Johnson’s Mrs South Africa concept.
“I entered this competition to empower women, or so I thought,” she says, “but the only women we financially empowered, after abusing ourselves for months are Joani and company.”
Chandre, Miss Charity who never was, takes particular exception to the extraordinary greed of Joani Johnson and her cronies and collaborators: “During lockdown level two/three, instead of arranging virtual events, she literally crammed 380 of us into one big room, f*ck all with the Covid-19 restrictions, just so she could sell tables at the Emperors Palace for R10 000 per table ..."
Chandre complains that they had little choice.
“If you refused to attend this end event,” she explains, “You will automatically be disqualified from the competition, yet you have come so far and worked so hard on tasks. It's an awful rabbit hole." [The women are already too far into the hole that they can't easily dig themselves out -Editor]
By her own admission, during the various stages of the competition, Chandre was milked and bilked out of around R1.4m by the ‘Mrs. South Africa’ owners, who do absolutely zero in providing logistics or any form of support for most of the pageants’ contestants.
“You arrange and pay for your own photographers and social media team to look good for those online pages that they absolutely insist you keep updating so that their sponsors can keep supporting them," Chandre says: 'Then, appallingly, they make contestants buy, market and sell those same products, thus conning their sponsors who should provide the promotional products for free ...' Yes, returns on investments for the sponsors seem massive; when the contestants must buy the products they are promoting. [The National Consumer Commission will have some fun looking into this clear contravention of Section 36 of the CPA that prohibits any costs to consumers for promotional ventures - Editor]
In their glossy brochure for ‘silver sponsors,' who are required to give the Mrs SA pageant R23 000 (inclusive of VAT), Johnson and her sidekick Maddy are 'hawking' their contestants to the sponsors. We have to pause here to highlight the fact that MRS SA Beauty Pageant (Pty) Ltd is not a registered VAT vendor, whose vendor number are they using. [The taxman is going to check - Editor]
They offer the ‘semi-finalists’ as brand ambassadors for the products/services, talk of ‘charity balls’ (where goeth the cash?) and 'golf balls' (where they degradingly make married women 'man' holes in bikinis); blatantly exploit past 'abuse' stories of respective women like Chandre by saying 'their empathetic tales will connect audiences to your brand,’ and objectify these women’s faces (after selling bodies and slaving souls) as ‘Face of Brand’ – but give the women NADA in return.
On the contrary, they become taskmasters, making the ladies sell sponsored products, and then Johnson & Co pocket the money in the name of 'we are an enterprise that has to make money from events and sponsorships for costs,' yet they make pageant women market brands on their own personal posts and platforms while offering little to zero support of any kind.
Chandre says contestants like her also had to cater for their own transportation to their different designated task destinations, "so you pay for your air tickets, say, from Cape Town to Jo’burg." And even here the women can’t escape the greedy grasp of Joani and her crew.
“You pay for accommodation in places like Emperors Palace (a Gold sponsor) during the contest, after initially indicating the stays would be free for contestants and family. You buy your own meals at the hotel. Even water isn't for free.”
When Chandre finally got a media interview during the contest, it was still due to her personal contacts with the media as Johnson and her people don’t provide the promised press and exposure - and instead, rely on footage from the pageant women to give a gloss to sponsors they target.
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In what must be a first in the world scheme, even the mentors that Mrs South Africa says are there to ‘empower’ the contestants must be paid a fee of R750 per hour from the handbags of the pageant competitors.
In the 2020/21 edition of Mrs South Africa, these mentors were Cathy Eaton, Jo-Ann Barnwell, Hlengiwe Twala, Prenita Reddi and the owner of an online store called ‘Ukara’ on Instagram whose name is Monkoena.
As for ‘Women4Women,’ during the fundraising tasks (that line the pockets of Johnson and her cronies), participants are told that the raised funds should be deposited into the bank account of the NGO.
Sadly, we are in possession of evidence that not fewer than five participants were instructed to deposit the funds raised into Ms Cindy Nell-Roberts personal bank account. Cindy, who will turn 40 next October is one of the directors of the NPC, Women4Women (K2017/081097/08). The two also own another model company Ace Models SA (Pty) Ltd (K2012/200502/07).
The scheme designed by Johnson as per the running of the NPC isolates her from any liability while leaving her BFF of many years, Cindy, holding the bucket of s***t. It's Cindy's bank account that receives donated funds without Johnson's fingerprints anywhere safe for the WhatsApp text she sent over to contestants with instructions on where to put the funds.
An arrogant act of blatant fraud by this cunning and conniving woman, as you’ll soon see, even when it comes to making the contracts.
A woman called Adele (a previous contestant) quit the operations because of these type of stinky dealings around these so-called charity, 'Women4Women.' It had to do with Johnson’s hawking Section 18A certificates that Adele felt was sailing within the fine lines of tax fraud. Who hasn't heard of the great Chicago mob boss, Al Capone who went down due to tax affairs?
In 2018, the top 25 finalists were up in arms, wanting their money back from this ‘NPC.’
But going through the Mrs South Africa Finalists’ Operation Manual sets alarm bells ringing.
Other than impossible to prove conditions like 'you must be in a committed and happy marriage,' even if you have just extorted your dear husband into agreeing to this crazy ride; there are clauses with claws like 'you will be disqualified if you don't meet the deadlines and targets,' which as Chandre found out, translates to 'make us X amount of cash by this date, or we'll kick your ass out of the contest ...’
Like a lot of lurid, luring-in deals, Mrs South Africa has sweeteners for contestants at the start like ‘you must possess a valid SA passport for international competitions, should you win the pageant.’
This fills the women’s heads with airy fantasies of being in France or Florida, representing South Africa in a world pageant.
‘You must possess a valid SA Driver’s license because the prize package may include a car,’ brings to mind the wind blowing through your hair, as you cruise down Fairway Avenue on your way to the Golf Club.
But their office details read like a former KGB’s hideout in Odessa at 40 Peglerae, Odelia street, Florida Glen, Roodeport, no walk-ins allowed; with instructions to only go by appointment, to never get in touch with Johnson, as well as cult-like demands like ‘display an air of gratitude to sponsors at all times’ and any ‘negative rumours’ generated could have you disqualified – to enforce silence on the exploitation that these Mrs South Africa wannabe are about to suffer in their journeys to nowhere’
Because the ultimate winner of Mrs South Africa, they were told, would ‘receive prizes and sponsorship to the value of over R500 000’, but a few lines on ‘please note that prizes are subject to sponsorship,’ so you can see how even winners end up with nothing, after raising funds for Johnson to enjoy at her opulent joints.
As for the Mrs World Pageant, they say ‘dates will be confirmed in due course’ and ‘the trip to compete in Mrs World is subject to budgets and Covid-19 regulations’ (this from a woman who packed hundreds of women during lockdown at the Emperor Palace in order to sell her tables!)
If the ‘budget’ does not allow, and one senses so far that budget won’t, Mrs South Africa would be staying at home as there will be no Mrs World. How many other previous winners have participated in Mrs World? The contestants are already in too deep to wonder about previous events. backwards never, forward ever seems to be the motto.
The contract that Chandre Goosen-Joubert was given to sign in acceptance of the title of Mrs Charity, for example, can only be described as an ‘enslavement contract.’
Someone described it in blunt and brutal terms as ‘once signed, you are beholden to this funny group for as long as they wish – and the only difference between you and the slaves who were dispatched to the Americas would be that you would be paying your way towards your freedom and at least you would have some vague idea on when your enslavement will come to an end.’ - at the next event.
Chandre said what Johnson & Co aim to do is get well off or connected high-end individuals to 'work their asses off raising money for them through this pungent beauty pageantry and non-transparent charity, as they lead the entrapped women through a wild goose chase for spotlights that never were...'
On Mrs South Africa, the players front their non-profit company 'Women4Women' that was registered on 23/02/2017, another brainchild of Johnson, born 21/01/1981. Her co-directors are Cindy Nell-Roberts, born 1st October 1981, and Clive Richard Keith Roberts, ten years her senior, are husband and wife, but sometimes in May of 2019, while seeking Section 18A tax exemption status for their NPC (Women4Women), they presented affidavits to South African Revenue Service confirming that the directors were in full compliance with all requirements for the Section 18A status they had sought; including the lie that they were not related.
A month earlier, in need of a fourth director as required by the Receiver of Revenue, the three had recruited one Vusimuzi Isaiah Zwane, a senior executive of the Emperors Palace – and who, though now 64, shares same birthdates with Cindy – into their charity scheme, even as Mrs South Africa pageant picked up steam and Johnson lured corporate sponsors into the scam that exploited the women who participate in it; a charity that is not accountable, and a scheme that cheats the South African Tax Man of due monies – even as Johnson now moves into a mansion.
This fourth director, Zwane, in one of his past lives was a director of Serton Information Technologies (Pty) Ltd., a company that went into liquidation on June 11, 1999, and ultimately dissolved just over a year later (June 28, 2001). He is also one of the three directors of Mkali Energy Holdings (Pty) Ltd. (K2016/126846/07) a company registered on April 4, 2016. Being made a judge responsible for deciding the suitability of winners (some half his age) must have been a catch for Johnson & Co.
The sexagenarian Zwane is also now a permanent judge of Mrs South Africa Beauty Pageantry. He is also the reference offered, despite the undisclosed conflict of interest, to their R50 000 gold sponsors, to tell potential sponsors how the pageantry "brings over R5m to the Emperors Palace annually." We believe SARS is reading, a claim that could be checked against Emperors Palace's tax returns.
As you may by now have come to suspect, he as a senior executive there and Mrs South Africa judge is in cahoots with Johnson and Nell-Roberts to have contestants pay their way through the finals’ week, especially if with family, as ‘happily married’ women who have slaved for a year for Mrs SA beauty pageantry will want it to be, in their week of glory which, as we shall see, turns into misery for three score and ten women.
And who are the owners of Mrs SA Beauty Pageant (PTY)?
As Joani Johnson is its SOLE director, all that labour and funds raised by contestants and monies and goodies from sponsors go directly into her Louis Vuitton handbags, to do with as she pleases; with no accountability to anyone else.
There is no accountability by Mrs South Africa, not just in its seedy finances, but right up to the actual judging process – which must be a global first in the history of beauty pageantry on Earth.
Imagine the PSL season ending with Mamelodi Sundowns crowned champions, and you are told Golden Arrows and AmaZulu came second and third – but everyone else, from the Swallows to the Pirates, SuperSport United to Cape Town City FC and even Chiefs are left hanging, knowing neither their points nor positions on the table (and the games not even being televised).
This is how Mrs South Africa ended in 2021, with the ‘top three’ being announced, but none of the other semi-finalists' beauty contestants being told their positions or even their scores at the end of ‘beauty pageantry.’
One of the Mrs SA contestants Naledi Marincowitz literally begged in an email that "...having had a very long and particularly rough year, and going to great pains to put together a strong campaign and having worked incredibly hard for this (Mrs SA) pageantry, it would only be fair to announce the Top 10, if not have them on stage, as ‘denying us even this recognition is heartbreaking.”
Joani Johnson coldly wrote back to Naledi that “...we are not able to access any scores post judging” [so, who is? – Editor] and that classic I-don’t-give-a-damn-go-screw-yourself line “I look forward to seeing you achieve big things...” This from one who speaks of ‘sisters for sisters.’
Her hatchet lady Marlene Reddy backed her up by blowing her off with “good morning Naledi; unfortunately due to the audited judging process, these results will not be released to us ..." Can't Johnson get the results from her squeeze who was the auditor or he is too independent to share such things with his lover?
Reddy forgot to mention that the lead 'independent auditor of the contest, Pierre Jacobs of BDO is Johnson's squeeze.
The judges, brought on board by Johnson (herself a judge), are three former contestants, as well as her business associate Jackie Ferns (owner of Ace Models, Limpopo branch) and fellow director in her fraudulently registered and an opaque charity called 'Women4Women.'
Yet all she and her cronies do is take, take and take from the, yes, victims, whom they baited into joining this internally ugly beauty pageant, then as a last grand insult after enslaving them for a year, they don't just dump them but do so with spits into their faces – by arrogantly refusing to give them even their results as finalists, wondering if they even bother to judge this ‘contest.’
There was a famous film in the 1970s called The Stepford Wives where women were turned into hubby-pleasing robots, this iconic movie coming at a time Western women were struggling to overcome male patriarchy.
The term ‘Stepford Wife’ refers derogatorily to a woman who is a ‘yes man’ to her husband.
Ironically for women who claim to be for empowering women, what these ‘Bedford wives’ like Johnson & Co do, to well-off white women like Chandre, yes, but mostly through the exploitation of Black Women’s labour in South Africa, is to turn them into Stepford Wives – submissive by contract, docile through threats, task-conformists; but instead of the blind, old fashioned subservient role to husbands, they are the indentured year-long servants of the pageantry.
Individuals who dare question Johnson's operations are silenced with cease and desist letters from lawyers. Chandre is one of those who have received such letters. Unfortunately, Johnson & Co seem not to have done adequate homework on her. She didn't get empowered by chance. She is a fighter and in her corner is her lawyer husband who has been quietly monitoring her boxing gloves.
One of the judges Kyle Clark was reportedly fired by Johnson & Co. on March 5th, but still went ahead to claim that Mrs South Africa is a scam, both on the contestants and on the sponsors they lure in with empty words of the space as a place that empowers women – but as in the case of Chandre, they pluck the goose that can lay the golden eggs, and disembowel the bodies and crush the spirits of the unfortunate women lured into this most useless of contests in Africa.
That Joani Johnson of ‘Mrs SA’ can now get a license to start ‘Miss Teen SA’ is like giving a license to an adult rapist to begin defiling underage lasses.
When contacted to explain the questionable aspects of her operations, Johnson asked us to send another email as the earlier email had gone to her publicist. Well, wouldn’t it have been easier for her to contact her publicist for details? Regardless, we obliged and sent another email; the response hadn’t arrived by production time. We would gladly include her response in the follow-up report.
That stance may have shielded her from accountability with uSpiked, but would that be the same with SARS’ and National Consumer Commission’s investigators?
Our inquiries to SARS were met with the standard response; "SARS is bound by our policies and legislation to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information and may not comment on the tax affairs of any taxpayer, an exempt institution, or the conduct of its directors." However, a confidential source within the office informed us that the Receiver of Revenue is taking instances of abuse of its processes very seriously; especially at a time when revenue collections are dwindling. There are talks of a comprehensive audit of all Section 18A Certificates issued in the past years by certain Non-Profit Companies. Such an audit is feared, within the office, would have a consequential impact on various entities and individuals.
SARS isn't the only entity that has opened investigations into this scheme.
The National Consumer Commission is also sharpening its fangs, ready for a bite.