/ 5 September 2007

Banking group goes after SACP

The Banking Association of South Africa is trying to have money accidentally paid to a lobby group led by South African Communist Party head Blade Nzimande returned, Business Day reported on Wednesday.

The managing director of the Banking Association of South Africa, Cas Coovadia, confirmed that the industry body had accidentally paid its quarterly fees of R360 000 in June last year to the Financial Sector Campaign Coalition, instead of the Financial Sector Charter Council.

”The abbreviations are both FSCC. The Financial Sector Campaign Coalition is chaired by Blade Nzimande. And my admin person pressed the wrong button,” said Coovadia.

The association is now engaged in talks with the Coalition to have the money returned. But the Coalition says it no longer has the money, because it was spent on the Coalition’s annual general meeting planned for next month.

The SACP-led Coalition — made up of non-governmental organisations and labour — lobbies against high banking fees and high mortgages, while the Council is responsible for the financial sector’s empowerment charter and represents many organisations targeted by the SACP in its campaigns.

The Banking Association picked up its error during an audit in October last year and asked for the R360 000 back, but almost a year later nothing has come of these requests.

This follows another controversy that started last month when businessman Charles Modise laid a complaint against the SACP with the police, alleging a R500 000 donation made in 2002, and given to Congress of South African Trade Unions President Willie Madisha, never reached the SACP.

Madisha insisted that he had given the money to the SACP. He said the recipient of the money — in two refuse bags — was Nzimande. Nzimande has denied these allegations.

The SACP last month denied Nzimande had any knowledge of the donation.

It also denied that two cash payments of R300 000, allegedly made to the party in 2005 by Limpopo’s provincial transport minister, Justice Pitso, were also unaccounted for. – Sapa