Phosa probes R7m earmarked for ANC programmes

2011-10-08 15:46

ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa is investigating a Mpumalanga regional secretary on allegations of misappropriating funds from a R7-million budget.

The R7-million budget is allocated to the region by the ANC’s headquarters to run the organisation’s programmes.

Six sources in the ANC’s provincial and regional executive committees told City Press that Ehlanzeni treasurer Richard Lukhele had complained to Phosa regarding the conduct of regional secretary Pat ­Ngomane about two weeks ago.

Phosa confirmed on Friday that he had launched a probe into the affair.

“The matter is being handled by our ­internal auditors. The allegations are very ­serious. That’s all I can say for now,” Phosa said.

The high-level investigation has apparently derailed plans for the Ehlanzeni ­region to hold its highly anticipated ­elective ­conference.

The conference was postponed for the ­second time this weekend and its outcome will show whether Premier David Mabuza retains his job as provincial chairperson next year.

Mabuza, who comes from Ehlanzeni, which incorporates the Lowveld area covering Nelspruit to Nkomazi, is facing stiff competition for the powerful provincial leadership from his deputy, Charles Makola, health MEC Clifford Mkasi and veteran Fish ­Mahlalela.

The sources alleged that the regional conference was postponed because of ­expectations that Ngomane may face internal disciplinary or criminal charges. ­Ngomane is a known Mabuza ally.

Ngomane allegedly took the party’s cheque book from Lukhele about two years ago – effectively taking total control of finances and rendering the treasurer powerless.

A provincial executive committee source said Lukhele was unable to prepare a financial report for the conference as he did not have the relevant records.

“Lukhele cannot account fully as he has not been involved. But he managed to get bank statements and other records and reported the matter to Luthuli House,” the source added.

Lukhele declined to comment.

Ngomane said: “I can’t comment on the allegations because it’s an issue of the ANC. As secretary, I’m satisfied with the finances of the organisation.”

Mpumalanga ANC spokesperson Paul Mbenyane said the province was not aware of the misappropriation allegations and denied Ngomane was the reason the conference had been indefinitely postponed.

“A conference can’t be postponed because of one individual. There’s a delay because we want to prepare thoroughly to ensure that the conference is incident-free,” Mbenyane said.

Before the allegations against Ngomane, the build-up to the conference had already been mired in controversy as branches ­complained to the provincial head office about membership fraud.

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