Tony Yengeni shows 'good leadership'
Johannesburg - ANC former chief whip Tony Yengeni has shown "good leadership" by resigning the directorships he holds in six companies, the ANC said on Friday.
"The African National Congress (ANC) welcomes the immediate step by ANC NEC member Tony Yengeni to resign the directorships he holds in six companies as a show of good leadership," spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
"The ANC fully accepts the explanation by comrade Tony through a statement by his attorney Brian Kahn, that - since 2003 - comrade Tony had believed he was... limited to only holding the office of director in public companies."
Kahn on Thursday said that Yengeni understood the term public office to refer to public companies.
"We also acknowledge and accept that comrade Tony has shown regret and remorse for failure to comply with the Companies Act due to misinterpretation of the law," Mthembu said.
"We appreciate that comrade Tony has also instructed his attorneys to prepare an application seeking authority from the high court for him to hold the office of director."
Earlier this week, the Democratic Alliance laid charges against Yengeni for serving as a director of six companies, because by law his jail sentence for fraud precluded him from doing so.
Joined three companies after prison release
Section 218 of the Companies Act disqualifies anybody jailed for theft, fraud, forgery or perjury from being a company director, unless the high court sets aside the disqualification.
Rapport and City Press said on Sunday that Yengeni was still serving as a company director, despite his four-year jail sentence for fraud linked to South Africa's multi-billion-rand arms deal.
A search of the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) revealed Yengeni serves as a director for Auburn Avenue Trading 88, Circle Way Trading 231, Duoflex, Abrina 2354, White Rag Investments and Cream Mag Trading.
He joined three of the companies in 2005, before he was sent to jail the following year, and the remaining three in 2008.
City Press quoted Yengeni as spurning the notion he had to ask the courts for special permission to serve as a director.
"What has the high court to do with my life?
"Maybe the law stipulates certain things. But the high court... I don't think they feature. I don't have to ask permission from them to deal with my life," he reportedly said.
Yengeni is currently in charge of establishing the ANC's new political school.