/ 14 July 2017

Limpopo’s 3 088 fake ANC members

Invalid: Seven of the Limpopo branches investigated now have too few members to vote in December’s leadership race.
Invalid: Seven of the Limpopo branches investigated now have too few members to vote in December’s leadership race.

Further revelations have emerged about the extent of ANC membership fraud in Limpopo, where a report from the office of party secretary general Gwede Mantashe has found more than 3 000 fake members and multiple attempts to process forms illegally.

Last week the Mail & Guardian revealed that the ANC had launched a probe into allegations of membership fraud in four provinces: Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.

The probe is expected to wrap up before the party’s December conference, where the party will elect leaders. The ANC had said the probe was necessary to ensure the credibility of the elective conference and the public’s trust in the new leadership.

In Limpopo, the ANC’s investigation into faked membership forms and cloned bank stamps has found 3 088 fraudulent forms and has left seven branches with fewer than 100 members, meaning they are no longer considered in good standing.

At the ANC’s most recent national general council in 2015, Mantashe reported that the number of audited members in Limpopo was 84 413, with 566 branches.

In May, Mantashe deployed staff from Luthuli House, led by Peter Thekiso, to the Giyani subregion in Limpopo – from where the complaints of faked membership in 21 branches emanated.

Their task was to check the names, identity numbers, payment details, dates, bank stamps and signatures on all of the forms in these branches.

Every ANC membership form is supposed to be sent to a bank with an accompanying payment of R20. The bank receives the payment and provides a stamped and signed receipt, which serves as proof of legitimate membership.

The team’s report, which the M&G has seen, found that:

  • Fraudulent bank stamps were discovered in branches or subregions;
  • Certain branches were faking bank payments;
  • Proof of payment slips were frequently tampered with to align with the bank stamp dates;
  • Incorrect dates were used – showing, for instance, deposits on public holidays; and
  • There were no proper teller signatures on some membership forms.

The team found that in all 21 contested branches, membership numbers were inflated without supporting documentation. All 21 branches were found with fraudulent membership forms, Thekiso said, adding up to 3 088 forms in total.

“Seven of the 21 branches remain with less than 100 members in good standing when all the affected fraudulent membership forms are removed from the branch files,” the report continued.

If a branch is not in good standing, it will not be represented at the national conference.

The report also uncovered blank ANC membership forms that were already stamped with FNB Giyani teller stamps dated 31 May 2016.

In a February 9 letter to the ANC this year, an FNB Limpopo regional manager, Rendani Muambadzi, reported the outcome of the bank’s investigation into the fraud.

He revealed that FNB employed its own investigator after the ANC in the province queried the authenticity of the stamps and dates on its membership forms.

The bank found that payments made through automatic deposit terminals (ADTs) could not be used as proof of payment and that some ADT receipts had been manipulated with backdated stamps and faked dates.

“The original ADT receipts were received and the investigator noted that the dates on ADT receipts were altered, where only the year ‘2016’ was visible,” Maumbadzi wrote.

“The audit trail indicated that the deposit was conducted … on 18 October 2016. This indicated that it could not have been the deposit for 31 March 2016 as indicated by the ANC officials,” the bank found.

“It is indicated at the bottom of the ANC form that no ADT deposits are allowed by the ANC. This indicated to the investigator that members of ANC were aware that they could not deposit cash at the ADT machine,” the letter continues.

Ultimately, the bank could not deduce who was to blame for the fraud and said the ANC should approach the ombud for banking services in this regard.

This week, ANC Limpopo secretary Knocks Seabi said some of the branches were still contesting the content of the reports.

ANC Limpopo chairperson Stan Mathabatha said the provincial executive committee had started taking disciplinary action against members implicated in the fraud.

“I can’t say what the disciplinary process is because I would be pre-empting the outcome, but the disciplinary committee will be dealing with the matter and they will come back to us with the recommended sanctions,” he said.