Nafcoc refuses to share

2009-10-24 14:09

INTERNAL conflict over the allocation of R1.8 billion in shares has torn the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and ­Industry (Nafcoc) apart.

The debacle over the shares in Nafhold – the chamber’s investment holding company – has ­resulted in a bid by a faction led by former Nafcoc vice-president Lawrence Mavundla to oust president Buhle Mthethwa.

Mthethwa enjoys support from youth and women’s chambers and all provincial structures except for Mpumalanga.

Mavundla’s camp includes the SA Leisure Tourism and Hospitality Association; National Industrial Chamber (NIC) and Nafhold.

The battle first spilled into the public arena last month after Mthethwa, a Nafhold board member at the time, organised a march in protest over delays in the distribution of the shares.

In a memorandum produced at the march, she and her supporters called on Nafhold president Johannes Hlongwane and chief executive Michael Leaf to respond to their ­demands within 14 days or face ­legal action.

Instead, she was dismissed from the Nafhold board, which has since started to disburse shares to Nafcoc members.

This week some in Mavundla’s camp ­visited several provinces where they allegedly promised Nafcoc members share certificates in exchange for their support to topple Mthethwa.

NIC president Sonyosi Sikhosana said Mavundla’s camp was well- received by most provincial structures except the Northern Cape.

Sikhosana also claimed that Mthethwa’s council had been dissolved.

He said she was given a letter on Tuesday to vacate Nafcoc House, its head office in Rivonia.

Sikhosana alleged that Mthethwa had brought Nafcoc into disrepute by organising the march to solve an internal dispute, especially as she was a director of Nafhold and was not supposed to air the company’s secrets in public.

He said an interim leadership structure had been formed and would be led by Mavundla, who is also the president of the African Co-operative for Hawkers and ­Informal Businesses.

Sikhosana added that elections had been organised for November 5 to vote in the federation’s new leadership.

But Mthethwa said her detractors were disgruntled members whose fees were not even paid up.

She also dispelled Sikhosana’s claims.

“We are not going respond to that absolute rubbish,” she said.

She acknowledged receipt of the eviction letter but said the sectors had no right to interfere in Nafcoc matters.

Mthethwa said if the leaders of the sectors wanted to lead Nafcoc they should have challenged her at the chamber’s elections that took place in June.

“I am a democratically elected president and Mavundla wanted to challenge my leadership but he gave up due to a lack of support” she said.

Mthethwa’s has also collided head-on with Nafhold board ­members.

She said it was unconstitutional for Nafhold to now disburse shares as she, as Nafcoc president, did not attend the board meeting at which the disbursement of share certificates was approved.

“They must not issue those shares,” she said.

She also accused Hlongwane and Leaf of ­using Nafhold to divide ­Nafcoc members.

Mthethwa also threatened to lay complaints against the two and those in Mavundla’s camp, alleging that they had siphoned money from Nafhold and made defamatory remarks about her.

Mthethwa alleged Hlongwane and Leaf took 700 000 shares, which were worth R156?million, from Nafhold unlawfully and channelled them to companies named Lexpub 53, Lexpub 56 and Lexpub 57.

In response Hlongwane said Mthethwa’s approval for the disbursement of shares was not needed as she had been dismissed from the company’s board after she had led the march on its offices.

Hlongwane showed City Press a court document proving that he and Leaf had obtained their shares lawfully. The document showed that Hlongwane owned 358 000 and Leaf 696 500 ordinary shares.

They obtained the court document after Nafcoc treasurer-general Jabu Khumalo two weeks ago said that a 2003 Deloitte & Touche audit report found that Hlongwane and Leaf had fraudulently awarded themselves Nafhold shares.

Hlongwane also criticised Mavundla for making media pronouncements on behalf of Nafhold.


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