Phosa and Sexwale: Bankrolling their way to the top

Mathews Phosa and Tokyo Sexwale are both vying for support from the youth league. (Gallo)

Mathews Phosa and Tokyo Sexwale are both vying for support from the youth league. (Gallo)

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa are alleged to have channelled millions of rands to groups in the ANC Youth League as they both lobby to be elected as deputy president during the party's conference next month.

This has emerged as one of the key reasons behind divisions in the youth league as each group seeks to impress funders and justify the money received for their respective campaigns.

The campaigns to elect Phosa and Sexwale have deeply divided the league and the pro-Motlanthe camp. This week the divisions spilled into the open when expelled league president Julius Malema launched a scathing attack on the league's deputy president Ronald Lamola, describing him as a traitor and a sell-out after he instructed league members not to attend Malema's money-laundering case in Polokwane on Friday.

A youth league national executive committee member told the Mail & Guardian that Malema's outburst was caused by Lamola's refusal to support Phosa for the position of deputy president.

"Lamola supported Sexwale, while Malema supported Phosa. So, during the ANCYL nominations Phosa won for the position of the deputy president, something that made it look like Julius was still in charge and Lamola was not.

"Julius heard that Lamola did not support Phosa for the position of deputy president and he went ballistic.
During a meeting in Cape Town he complained to comrades about Lamola and said really bad things. Lamola heard about this and reacted by releasing the statement that Youth League members must not go to court under the banner of the Youth League  because it had no case to answer. Julius saw this message and then went on the attack because he believes his case was part of a political conspiracy," said a national executive committee member.

Funding structures
The M&G this week spoke to about seven ANC leaders who confirmed that both groups had received money. An ANC member close to Phosa said he was aware that Sexwale and Phosa gave money to the two main groups in the youth league to run their campaigns.

"Both Sexwale and Phosa gave out the money. The difference with Phosa is that he has been funding structures and not individuals for his campaign. This is mainly for accommodation, transport and airtime. Sexwale, on the other hand, is accused of giving money directly to individuals to campaign on his behalf," said the ANC leader. Some of the youth league members who allegedly benefited from both Sexwale's  and Phosa's largesse include Lamola, Malema, national executive committee members Andile Lungisa, Thabo Kupa, Limpopo youth league provincial secretary Jacob Lebogo and Kennetswe Mosenogi.

Youth leaders on both sides deny any monetary benefit.

Those supporting Sexwale include Lamola, Lungisa and Kupa. Malema and Lebogo are said to be leading Phosa's campaign. The M&G has reliably learned that Phosa's campaign has also been funded by a Mpumalanga-based millionaire whose name is known to the M&G.

The use of money to campaign for positions in the ANC is not only limited to Phosa and Sexwale. Zuma's campaign is also said to be bankrolled by several businesspeople.

Creating access to state resources
"The behaviour of comrades in this campaign has been characterised by money [be it in the JZ or Motlanthe camps]. Others are getting money as individuals and others as a group or factions. The money is thrown around at big parties with scantily clad women, first-class commercial flights and fancy German cars. The difference is that the JZ camp is also using state resources while Motlanthe's people are using money from private individuals. It is about who wins and creating access to state resources. Tokyo feels betrayed because he gave out a lot of money in this campaign and has now lost out on the position of deputy president," said a youth league leader.

Approached for comment this week, Phosa's advisor Bobo Mokoena said he was not in a position to comment about campaign funding.

"Every campaign has funders. People assist us from time to time," said Mokoena. He denied the rented car he was driving was paid for by the Mpumalanga millionaire. The M&G learned that the millionaire hired more than seven cars for Phosa's campaign throughout the country.

Sexwale's spokesperson, Xolani Xundu, said: "the minister does not comment on nonsense."

Attempts to get comment from Malema and Lamola were unsuccessful at the time of going to press. However, Lungisa said: "I support the line up led by Kgalema Motlanthe as president and Tokyo Sexwale as deputy president, not as an individual. It is fallacy and misleading to say there are people funding me for their campaign. I campaigned for Zuma in 2009 without funding and I am campaigning for Kgalema now without funding."

Kupa said: "I don't have a comment. I'm also not going to comment about internal meetings of the Youth League."

Mosenogi denied that she had ever received money from either Phosa or Sexwale.

Charles Molele

Charles Molele

Charles Molele is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. Charles joined the paper in 2011. He has covered general news, court and politics for the past 19 years, and also worked as a senior reporter for the Saturday Star, Sunday World, ThisDay, Sunday Times and is former politics editor of the New Age. Charles's other career highlights include covering Kenya's violent general elections (2007/08), Zimbabwe’s sham general elections (2008), Mozambique's food riots (2010) and the historic re-election of US President Barack Obama (2012).
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    Matuma Letsoalo is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003, focussing on politics and labour, and collaborated with the M&G's centre for investigations, amaBhungane, from time to time.In 2011, Matuma won the South African Journalist of the Year Award and was also the winner in the investigative journalism category in the same year.In 2004, he won the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize – the MKO Abiola Print Journalism Award. Matuma was also a joint category winner of the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the year Award in 2008. In 2013, he was a finalist for Wits University's Taco Kuiper Award.
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