Niehaus offers resignation

ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus offered to resign from his position on Friday morning following a Mail & Guardian report that he committed fraud to secure a loan.

“Something like this becoming public … obviously must have consequences for me and … I accept that the ANC will decide about my future,” Niehaus told SAfm.

“I have written a message this morning [Friday] to the secretary general and the treasury general of the ANC and I have offered my resignation.

“I’ve always been employed by the ANC and I’ve always accepted the discipline of the ANC. The ANC is not an organisation for me which I consider just to be an organisation. It is my family. It is the organisation I love and I will never do anything deliberately to damage this organisation and I will always accept its discipline.”

The ANC denied on Friday morning that Niehaus had tendered his resignation, spokesperson Jessie Duarte said.

“It’s not true. We have heard this rumour all morning long,” she said.

Duarte said they were looking into the matter, but her immediate reaction to the article was that it contained inaccuracies.

She said it was untrue that she was unhappy about Niehaus’s appointment to the team of spokespersons that would lead the party through the April 22 elections.

“This is a person I have known for 32 years … we work well together, we always have… I have great respect for him”.

Desperate for financial help
The M&G confronted Niehaus this week with allegations that he owed hundreds of thousands of rands to politicians and influential businessmen and committed fraud while working for the Gauteng provincial government.

A tearful Niehaus admitted that he forged signatures while he was chief executive of the Gauteng Economic Development Agency (Geda) before resigning in December 2005 and borrowed money over a six-year period from some of the brightest stars of the ANC and business galaxy, much of which he has not paid back.

He also admitted to the M&G that he asked to be connected to Brett Kebble because he was “desperate for financial help” and had to leave a top job at Deloitte and Touche in 2003 after his financial woes became embarrassing.

He also admitted to owing the Rhema Church more than R700 000 when he was asked to resign from his post as chief executive and spokesperson by a full board meeting in 2004 and had to repay R24 000 to director general in the presidency Frank Chikane when he left his job there under a cloud in 2004. –

“Most of what you have confronted me with is true. I wish it wasn’t. I’ve made massive mistakes and I’ve disappointed a lot of people terribly. I’ve no illusions that if you publish this article it will mean the end of my career,” he told the M&G.

“I asked people like Saki Macozoma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Tokyo Sexwale, Gill Marcus, Pallo Jordan and Rick Mennell to help me financially.

“I was down and out. Some of them gave me money and some didn’t. I am terribly indebted. I also received money from Brett Kebble.”

He said the slain mining magnate gave him R70 000 for communications work.

“I’m paying R100 000 back because I can’t fight the liquidators — there was no contract, only a verbal agreement,” said Niehaus.

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