/ 20 June 2008

Thint mum on alleged contribution to ANC

French arms company Thint could not comment on Friday on its alleged financial contribution to an African National Congress (ANC) conference currently under way in KwaZulu-Natal.

This followed a report in the Times that the company donated R25 000 towards the costs of the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial congress.

Provincial ANC secretary Senzo Mchunu allegedly wrote to the company’s managing director, Pierre Moynot, requesting a cash donation. The letter was dated June 13.

According to the newspaper, Moynot sent a letter — which is in the paper’s possession — to Mchunu on Tuesday confirming his company’s willingness to help fund the conference.

”[Pierre Moynot] is not available. He is out of the country,” his personal assistant, Nirusha Reddy, told the South African Press Association on Friday.

Reddy said Moynot — and other company spokesperson — would only be available next week Friday for comment.

”They are all abroad,” she said.

”With reference to your letter of June 13 2008 noted, please be advised we will donate an amount of R25 000 towards the costs of the conference. I trust the above to be in order, kindly forward your banking details in order for payment to be effected,” read Moynot’s letter.

Speaking from a noisy background, Mchunu said he could not talk as he was busy at the conference.

Thint is at the centre of alleged bribery and corruption involving ANC president Jacob Zuma.

Meanwhile, the ANC has dismissed as ”malicious and sensationalist” the reports carried in the Times.

The ANC’s Mike Mabuyakhulu said the money had not simply been transferred to the ANC, but was a pledge.

He said the newspaper’s headline implied that the ANC had been paid before by this company and this was ”not the truth”.

Mabuyakhulu said the party was not a profit-making organisation, but relied on sponsorship from the community and other organisations.

Responding to questions from reporters, Mabuyakhulu said the cost of the conference was far greater than Thint’s pledge to the ANC. ”It is a mere fraction of the cost.”

However, he could not provide a firm figure.

Asked whether the funds were solicited, Mabuyakhulu replied that the circumstance of the pledge were part of a relationship that the ANC would not share with the media. — Sapa