Goodbye to Nafhold

2010-07-24 09:22

The leadership fights at the ­National African Federated Chamber of

Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) have taken a dramatic turn: the organisation’s

executive council has decided to break up its investment holding arm,

Nafhold.

The executive council is Nafcoc’s highest decision-making body

­after conference.

The decision to liquidate Nafhold will most likely vindicate the

actions of Buhle Mthethwa, ­Nafcoc’s former leader, who ­ironically was ousted

late last year by the chamber’s current crop of leadership for trying to do the

same thing.

Nafhold has been the source of recent internal leadership squabbles

that have threatened the ­existence of the country’s largest chamber for small

business.

Shares worth an estimated R1.8 billion have been at the centre of

Nafcoc’s ­recent leadership battles.

Nafhold owns 25% of Tsogo ­Investment Holdings, which ­controls the

Southern Sun hotel chain and several casinos.

It also has shares in e.tv, ICT companies, and firms operating in

the financial and manufacturing sectors.

It also owns a number of

properties.

But the decision to sell the Tsogo Investment Holdings shares will

be the one that spells the end of Nafhold and a decade of internal battles over

its assets.

Mthethwa’s leadership wanted to liquidate Nafhold and dismiss chief

executive Michael Leaf and chairperson Jabu Hlongwane ­because the investment

arm had failed to disburse shares to Nafcoc individual members and

constituencies since 2003, despite a Nafcoc resolution to do so.

Dissolving Nafhold will make it easier for the Nafcoc leadership to

access its funds as the key financial decision-making powers will now rest with

its treasurer, Buti ­Letsoela.

However, questions remain whether Nafcoc will finally ­disburse the

shares to the members or invest the money in ­programmes that will better the

operations of its constituencies and individual members.

This week a source close to Nafcoc’s sitting president, Lawrence

Mavundla, said the only thing that had kept Nafhold in existence was the shares

the investment arm held in Tsogo Investment Holdings.

“We are about to conclude the process to sell the Tsogo Sun shares

and Nafhold will soon be history,” said the source.

Mavundla refused to provide ­details this week.

“We have resolved that we should not make a media statement

­because the process to sell the ­Tsogo Investment Holdings shares is at a

sensitive stage and we would not want to give our enemies ammunition to use

against us,” said Mavundla.

He added that the deal to sell the Tsogo Investment Holdings shares

involved companies that were listed on the JSE and any ­publicity about the

transaction might affect their share prices.

The source conceded that Mthethwa’s leadership had legitimate

grounds for wanting to expel Hlongwane and Leaf for failing to disburse the

shares.

“Buhle’s leadership was right to want to do away with Leaf and

Hlongwane. But the problem is the manner in which they dealt with the

situation,” said the source.

The source was referring to a march organised by Mthethwa’s

leadership to the Nafhold offices in Sandton last year over the ­disbursing of

the shares.

A faction headed by Mavundla used the march to pass a motion of no

confidence against Mthethwa and expelled her leadership. The Mavundla group

alleged that the march gave Nafcoc negative ­publicity.

Nafhold was established in 1994 and has been carrying the tab for

Nafcoc programmes and its 17 ­constituencies.

This meant that whenever the leadership of Nafcoc wanted ­money to

pay for rent, salaries, conferences and business trips, they had to approach

Leaf and Hlongwane to get the funds.

The duo decided which programmes to fund and the leadership did not

always agree with its decisions. For example, Leaf and Hlongwane were accused by

Mthethwa of refusing to release funds to pay rent for Nafcoc’s head office in

Rivonia.

After Mavundla toppled Mthethwa, Nafhold started releasing

­payments for the costs and even bought 15 Toyota Hilux double cabs worth R5 million last November for the new leadership.

A source within Nafcoc said Leaf and Hlongwane would no longer play

a role within the organisation.

“We feel that they have been with the chamber for too long and they

must go,” said the source.



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