/ 21 February 2022

ANC Women’s League to investigate missing R10-million

Uyinene Mrwetyana Family And Friends March To Parliament In South Africa
ANCWL treasurer general Maite Nkoana-Mashabaneg: (Photo by Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

The ANC Women’s League is grappling with a financial scandal in which R10-million has vanished from its Malibongwe Women’s Development Trust.

This comes after the league heard calls from members of its national working committee (NWC) to pardon those implicated in another scandal involving R2-million missing from its North West province kitty.

The league’s treasurer general, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, told the NWC about the missing money during a meeting on Friday. This comes as the league is struggling to find donors for its elective conference proposed for this year. 

This is not the first time that money has gone missing from the league’s social development arm. In 2019, the Daily Maverick reported that hundreds of millions of rand from 30 black economic empowerment (BEE) deals received by the Malibongwe trust had been misappropriated.

According to the report, the Malibongwe trust — established in 2005 — had received dividends from a BEE deal it concluded with Anglo-American in the same year. The deal was taken over by Exxaro in 2006, which paid the dividends from 2006 until 2018. The dividends were meant to help small-scale organisations become successful businesses, but Malibongwe’s projects across South Africa failed as a result of a lack of funds, the Daily Maverick reported.

It was announced at Friday’s meeting, chaired by league president Bathabile Dlamini, that Nkoana-Mashabane had been unable to secure donor funding, with some businesses indicating they had already committed to donating to the main ANC.

A well-placed insider said the meeting resolved to open an investigation into the missing R10-million.

NWC debates North West suspensions 

Another fiercely debated matter was whether to lift the suspension of North West officials.  

The league’s provincial executive committee resolved to suspend chairperson Fetsang Molosiwa, secretary Bridget Tlhomelang and treasurer Manketse Tlhape and opened criminal charges of fraud and corruption over the disappearance of the R2-million.

The women’s league NWC then asked some of its leaders to investigate the matter. Convenor Mamiki Qabathe said there were concerns about how the provincial leadership handled bank accounts, according to insiders at the meeting. 

She said there had been a recommendation that the NWC make a decision to either disband the provincial executive committee, because it was left with only two officials, or overrule the suspension of the three provincial leaders to ensure unity in the North West ahead of its provincial conference. 

Qabathe is said to have also cautioned that the North West would find it difficult to hold the conference without a provincial secretary.

Another insider said the recommendations were rejected by women’s league secretary general Meogo Matuba, who cautioned that the matter was before the courts.

“She was clear that we respect issues of law and that we can’t support the suggestion that comrades drop the case, it becomes a matter of the law. Comrade SG [secretary general] also did not agree with the suggestion that we use our authority to waive the suspension of the North West comrades,” they said.

The insider said that Matuba emphasised the need to disband the North West, saying the league should write to structures whose mandate had lapsed, to extend their term until the league holds its elective conferences. 

Ekurhuleni executive committee 

There was also heated debate about the recent court challenge over the women’s league’s  Ekurhuleni elective conference. Last September, members took the league to court, saying it had failed to intervene in allegations of manipulation of processes at the regional elective conference. 

Sources said that Matuba suggested the league’s leaders meet disgruntled members to convince them to drop the court case.

A well placed source said the NWC unanimously decided to send people to the Ekurhuleni region to hear members’ concerns and convince them to exhaust internal processes first, before resorting to the courts.