Nafcoc faction changes tack

2010-01-09 16:00

THE threat of a legal battle for the control of the National

African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) appears to have

fizzled out ­during the festive season.

Last month, Jabu Khumalo, the treasurer-general of the camp led by

Buhle Mthethwa, said they were consulting their lawyers in preparation for a

legal assault against the Lawrence Mavundla clique that would take place this


However, camp spokesperson Phosane Mngqibisa said their ­focus had

­shifted. “We want to let what happened in 2009 to lapse.
This does not mean we

won’t come up with a calculated fight- back strategy. We don’t want to divulge

too much information in the media,” he said. “What they must know is that we

won’t let them take the organisation to the ­dustbin.”

Mngqibisa said letting Mavundla’s camp off the hook would be equal

to ­betraying those who re-elected Mthethwa into office last June. “We cannot

disappoint our members who voted for us. We are going to fight for justice until

we win,” he said.

Mthethwa’s group wants to come up with plans to unite the


As the power battle raged on, Mavundla’s camp appointed Robert

Mhlambi as Nafcoc chief executive. Mhlambi was the finance and administration

director of the now defunct Chambers of Commerce and Industry South ­Africa from

April 2004 until June 2006.

He also acted as banking group Absa’s general manager for the black

business division from July 2006 until November 2008. He worked as the chief

operations ­officer of the Afrikaanse Handelinstituut before being employed by


Kentse Makgai, spokesperson for the Mavundla camp, said they would

adopt a wait-and-see approach.

“If you recall, we have never dragged the Mthethwa ­faction to the

courts. We don’t really care whether they take us to court or not. Our priority

is to grow the organisation and identify business opportunities for our

­members,” she said.

Makgai said Vish Maharaj, vice president of the Mthethwa faction,

had ­requested to meet with Mavundla. The spokesperson was, however, not aware

of what was on ­Maharaj’s mind.

Nafcoc has been embroiled in leadership battles since November last

year, when the Mavundla faction overthrew the Mthethwa group.

The Mavundla group has support from Nafcoc’s investment holding

company, Nafhold. The company, through its ­directors Michael Leaf and Jabu

Hlongwane, appears to be the kingmakers in the battle.

Mthethwa fell out of favour with Nafhold after she organised a

march against the company in September to protest against delays in the

distribution of the R1.8 billion Nafhold assets to the business chamber’s


Mngqibisa said the Mthethwa faction was getting support from former

Nafcoc presidents Patrice Motsepe and Archie Nkonyeni.

He denied rumours that their legal fees were being shouldered by

­Motsepe, ­saying the faction was broke.

“That’s hogwash. We are funding this legal battle from our own

pockets, while the Mavundla camp is being funded by Michael Leaf,” he


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