Fat Cats

2010-05-02 08:49

ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leaders are using their ­political

connections with senior government ­officials and the heads of state-owned

­enterprises to enrich themselves through the league’s growing business


City Press has uncovered a scheme – hatched last year – that places

new directors of the league’s controversial company, Lembede ­Investment

Holdings, in line for a 30% share of all deals signed during their term of


Documents and sources reveal that the scheme revolves around

creating several ­companies to front for the league – and making a few

individuals rich.

The companies, in which Lembede holds shares through trusts, are

getting tenders from government departments, a municipality and state-owned

companies sympathetic to the youth league.

The league also resolved that there was a need for political

intervention to open the market for itself in “hostile environments.”

The minutes of a February 2009 Lembede board meeting, where the

scheme was hatched, reveal that the company’s chairperson and ­ANCYL

treasurer-general, Pule Mabe, led the campaign for self-enrichment of

individuals on the league’s ticket.

On Friday Mabe denied this and said there was an “overwhelming view

by the board that they should be rewarded”.

“This board resolution was not even looked at by the shareholder

because the league ­wanted the board to focus its attention on ­closing down


But two ANC members familiar with the board resolution said the

resolution was never rescinded and was still in place.

According to the minutes of the February 2009 board meeting,

Lembede’s then chief­
executive Lonwabo Sambudla was to be paid “10% of the

value of transactions” signed by the company and its subsidiaries during his


Sambudla’s share was to be “accommodated in the mooted 30%”, the

board resolved. This left 20% to be shared among the rest of the board


Sambudla failed to respond to written ­questions sent to him on


Because Lembede had attracted negative publicity for its dodgy

transactions with slain mining magnate Brett Kebble, new trusts were formed to

front for the league and hold shares in 18 companies.

City Press has established that one of these companies, Review

Printers, last month ­received a one-year contract for the “printing and

supplying of general full-colour work in the Limpopo province”.

A status report

of Lembede finances shows that the league holds a 30% stake in Review Printers

through the South African Youth ­Development Trust – whose beneficiaries are

registered members of the league.

Other Lembede companies in business with state-owned entities


Kopano Travel, which managed the yearly choral music event for

the South African Rail Commuter Corporation and the City of ­Johannesburg;


Motona Financial Services was to sign a contract with Eskom

Pension Fund for ­financial brokerage. Motona was also awarded a contract for

financial brokerage by state oil company PetroSA. The February 2009 ­minutes

state that the contract was to be signed within two weeks and would raise a

minimum income of R500?000 a year.

However, PetroSA spokesperson Thabo ­Mabaso said yesterday that the

company did not have a contract with Motona.

The board further resolved that a committee including director

Tumisang Kgaboesele and the league’s national executive committee member,

Mduduzi Manana, should seek ­business opportunities from municipalities where

Manana comes from.

Manana is an MP and hails from Ermelo in Mpumalanga.

A league member who knows of Lembede’s dealings said it “was

disingenuous of them (new ANCYL leadership) to claim clean ­governance but go

behind closed doors to try to enrich themselves”.

The board’s scheme also contradicts ­pronouncements made by the

league and its president, Julius Malema, that they would close down


Malema labelled Lembede’s former chief ­executive, Songezo

Mjongile, and former league member Andile Nkuhlu as “thugs”, and threats were

made to have them charged for enriching themselves in the name of the


At the time, Malema said: “We can’t carry the same baggage with us.

We can’t carry this ­problem. We are closing it down and then we are

concentrating on other things.”

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