Fight for millions rocks Nafcoc

2011-03-19 12:20

The battle over millions of rands meant for National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) members has once again split the organisation into two ­factions.

Daniel Mbuli, the secretary-general of Nafcoc Free State and spokesperson for one of the factions, said this week that five Nafcoc provincial structures had grouped themselves against the small business chamber’s leadership in the form of its president, Lawrence Mavundla, over control of the shares and funds of its ­investment arm, Nafhold.

The provincial structures are ­opposed to Nafcoc opening a bank ­account with U Bank without members’ knowledge through which all the money that belongs to Nafhold will be controlled.

Nafhold used to own a R1.2-billion stake in Tsogo Investment Holding. Last year it sold a R700-million tranche of shares back to Tsogo Investment Holding.

This resulted in Nafhold starting a process of distributing shares to some Nafcoc members, including the current leadership and chamber stalwarts.

Nafcoc provincial investment trusts and some of the sector investment trusts own the remaining R500 million in preferential shares. Tsogo will distribute dividends of this money to Nafcoc constituencies in the next two months.

Nafhold has accused Nafcoc of opening a secret bank account at U Bank with the aim of diverting the dividends from Nafcoc Trust. The trust is a vehicle through which Nafhold rceives and distributes dividends from its various investments.

Part of the R700 million in Nafhold share earnings being disbursed to members now falls under the control of Nafcoc Trust.

The presidents of Nafcoc Free State, North West, Gauteng, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal confirmed to City Press that they opposed the chamber’s national leadership. “Whether Nafcoc leadership likes it or not, we will remove them from office through a vote of no-confidence,” said one president of a provincial structure who preferred to remain anonymous as he was not mandated to speak on ­behalf of the faction.

Nafcoc spokesperson Vukile Mathabela on Friday denied there was a faction planning to pass a vote of no-confidence against the chamber’s leadership.

“There is no threat to the Nafcoc leadership. The people who are talking about a vote of no-confidence are expressing their individual opinions,” Mathabela said.

On February 23 Nafcoc took ­Nafhold, its chairperson Johannes Hlongwane and Lexpub 53 Investments and Lexpub 56 Investments to the South Gauteng High Court.

The aim of bringing the urgent court application was to freeze the bank accounts of Nafhold, Lexpub 53 and Lexpub 56.

Nafcoc also tried to force Nafhold to pay all the money linked to its shares and to have an independent forensic audit establish the whereabouts of money belonging to the investment arm.

The case was struck off the roll of urgent applications.

Mathabela said Nafcoc’s legal team was about to file documents at the High Court, but not as an ­urgent application.

Nafhold chief executive Michael Leaf would be added as a respondent, he said.

Mathabela said that Hlongwane and Leaf had been removed as the trustees of Nafhold Trust after it was discovered that they had made themselves the only signatories of the trust.

He said all the trustees were supposed to be signatories.

He threatened that legal action would be taken against any Nafcoc member who tried to assist Hlongwane and Leaf.

Sydney Kunene, Nafcoc Mpumalanga president, said he was ­unaware of any move to propose a motion of no-confidence against the national leadership.

“I am part of the chamber’s ­national leadership and nobody has spoken to me about mobilising support against the leadership,” said Kunene.

Charlie Moagi , the president of Nafcoc North West, said that although he was opposed to Nafcoc using U Bank, his province had not yet made up its mind over whether or not to support a vote of no -confidence. “Our gripe is that there was no proper consultation on how an individual member of Nafcoc would benefit from us investing our money in U Bank,” said Moagi.

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