See under Family Tree records held in the Albany museum, Grahamstown a cutting from 'The Star' newspaper by Harold Fridjhon - Friday, December, 8, 1972 "An Appreciation. Eric Freemantle: Colossus who was one jump ahead." which reads as follows:


'Two are now left of the 10 young men who hurriedly became members of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1915 before the committee raised the entrance fee from 200 guineas to 500 guineas. Until Wednesday there were three. With the death of Eric Freemantle not only has another link been severed with the share market of 50 years ago, but the stock exchange has also lost its colossus. He built the biggest brokerage house in South Africa - in the southern hemisphere, some say - as he pioneered the marketing of South African securities on many of the world's bourses. As well known in market circles in London, Paris, Brussels, Zurich and New York as he was in Hollard Street, Eric Freemantle was respected and welcomed abroad for his imaginative generating of business in mining shares and mining financials.

World Class.

Mr. R. de Waay, senior partner in Belgium's Cortvriendt, De Waay, a major European brokerage house with international connections, told me some years ago: 'As a South African you have good reason to be proud of Mr. Freemantle. He is a serious businessman of world class; it's a pleasure and a privilege to be associated with him.'

With De Waay, Eric Freemantle helped to establish with Bank Lambert a Belgian market for Free Staters and Klerksdorp issues after World War 2. He aroused interest in Paris for the new gold fields at a time when gold shares had fallen into disfavour because the older producers were dying and their dividends were tapering away.

In Zurich and New York, too, he spoke gold and diamonds, financials, South African securities. He hurried abroad in 1961 after Sharpville to try to convince his overseas associates that they should be buying not selling South African shares, that De Beers at 41 shillings - before the 10 for 1 split - was a bargain. His failure then served only to enhance his reputation later.

But by 1961, Eric Freemantle had already been connected with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange for nearly half a century. Broking and dealing was by then an ingrained way of life and although it was an absorbing preoccupation it was never allowed to obscure the human essence of living, the warmth and closeness of the family circle.

This was an unpretentious man, a down-to-earth man who treated all, from office messengers to leaders of finance, with the same unchanging courtesy. It was a characteristic that his few remaining colleagues remember of the 16-year-old youth who joined Viney Allen just over a year before the outbreak of World War I.

And it was his down-to-earth basic courage that brought him through Delville Wood minus an eye but plus an even deeper feeling for, and knowledge of, people.

Back to the market in 1919 only to find war jingoism was prejudicing an Austrian-born broker, Max Pollak who had spent part of the war years in an internment camp.

Eric Freemantle went out of his way to help him, starting a friendship, which led to a lifelong business association. Freemantle was the dealer in a partnership, which was blooded and boosted in the great platinum boom - and slump.

Dealing to Eric was more than a challenge; it was a mental stimulant. One of his old colleagues said yesterday: 'Eric succeeded because he was a brilliant man. From the earliest days he was always one jump ahead. He appeared to deal on the spur of the moment, but in fact he had that rare capacity to see in a situation what others couldn't see.'

It was the jump ahead, the inspired prescience, which gave him the edge on arbitrage dealing. It was his restless seeking always for new and quicker means of communication with overseas markets, which provided the jump ahead.

After World War 2 when telecommunications with London were still somewhat tardy Eric Freemantle learned that cables via Cairo usually reached Johannesburg as much as 10 minutes ahead of those transmitted down the west coast.

A Disaster.

But the first day's business was a disaster. The London cable arrived well ahead with offers far below ruling Johannesburg prices. The Freemantle dealer on the floor couldn't believe the offer but by the time he cabled back to London for confirmation and received a reply the moment of advantage had passed.

When the stock exchange moved temporarily into Fox Street while the new building was being erected in 1958, Eric Freemantle discovered that he could hire an open telex line direct to London. While the other brokers were depending on phone calls and cables he was getting simultaneous offers and bids - and at times had to restrain dealing to allay untoward suspicions.

Today all the arbitrage brokers are Telex-linked with London, the continent and, in some cases, with New York. Hollard Street is part of an international network. Eric Freemantle played his part through his leadership in establishing these links - just as he had contributed in so many other ways, directly and indirectly, to building the J.S.E.

Top Level

But more than this, he played his part in helping to sell South Africa and its enterprises to the world. Shortly before he died he entertained as his guests a top-level group of continental bankers. He brought them to this country to give them first hand knowledge of investment potential here.

This was Eric Freemantle, once again, being a jump ahead and seeing in a situation what others couldn't see.