The African National Congress (ANC) is in bed with Swazi King Mswati III, in spite of the monarch’s routine violation of human rights and the Congress of South African Trade Union’s (Cosatu) campaign for democratic change in the tiny kingdom.
This week Cosatu questioned the morality of the ANC’s decision to invest in a multimillion-rand mining deal in Swaziland, particularly in the light of the fact that its partner is the king’s personal investment fund, Tibiyo TakaNgwane.
Through its business front, Chancellor House, the ANC has acquired a R25-million stake (75%) in Swaziland’s Maloma Colliery from mining giant Xstrata. Tibiyo TakaNgwane has 25%, while the other consortium member is reported to be former president Nelson Mandela’s son-in-law, Isaac Kwame Amuah, an alleged fugitive from United States justice.
This week Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini described the ANC’s decision as immoral and a clear contradiction of the resolution taken at the party’s recent national general council which committed it to act in solidarity with the Swazi people against King Mswati’s regime.
”The ANC knows very well that there is no freedom in Swaziland. What message is it sending by collaborating with an illegitimate system?”, Dlamini said. ”We know the money that the ANC is injecting will not feed the people of Swaziland. What morals is the ANC showing in doing business with people who oppress their own?
”From time to time there are business dealings between governments, but for the ANC to do business with an illegitimate system is mind-boggling.”
Mantashe unimpressed with Cosatu’s comments
His views were shared by Cosatu’s international secretary, Bongani Masuku. ”We have always emphasised that human dignity and people’s rights should take precedence over narrow business interests,” said Masuku. ”It cannot be normal business with a country with such a terrible record. Many people have sacrificed their economic interests for the common good.
”South Africa would not be where it is today without the support of other African countries. We were the prime beneficiaries of international solidarity and have a moral and political duty to give back to others what we received.”
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe lambasted Cosatu for continuing to interfere in internal ANC matters, saying he saw nothing wrong with Chancellor House investing in Swaziland.
”The problem with Cosatu is that it always wants to interpret ANC resolutions. We [the ANC] don’t do that — ask it if it knows where Kopano ke Matla [Cosatu’s investment arm] invests its resources. It wouldn’t know because it doesn’t run Kopano ke Matla.” Mantashe said he found it problematic that Chancellor House was singled out while other parties with investment arms were not questioned.
”Chancellor House has every right to invest anywhere. It’s a business entity, not a political party.”
He dismissed claims that Maloma Colliery was supplying coal to Eskom.
Chancellor House Holdings board chairperson Hermanus Loots and managing director Mamatho Netshianda refused to comment. Before hanging up, Netshianda said: ”I’m not interested in talking to journalists. I have the right to refuse to answer any questions.”