Johannesburg - The National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) is broke.
Head office is proffering a begging bowl to provincial constituencies for a bail-out.
This is after the head office has spent R1m on the latest black S350 CDI Mercedes-Benz for its president, Lawrence Mavundla.
This expenditure in turn comes after another spree of spending on cars in November, when the office bought a fleet of 13 Toyota Hilux double cabs and two Nissan Navaras worth R5m.
The Toyota Hiluxes were acquired for the presidents of Nafcoc’s provincial and sectoral structures.
One of the Navaras went to Nafcoc’s Mpumalanga president, Sydney Kunene, and the other to Mavundla.
June salaries for Nafcoc administrative staff were paid a week late, and invoices sent to Nafcoc by some firms supplying it with services and products have not been settled.
Nafcoc’s bi-monthly internal newspaper, Kgwebo, last published in April, has not been seen since then.
A source with intimate knowledge of Nafcoc’s finances, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the current administration had already used up the R10m allocated to it last November by its investment arm, Nafhold.
That November was the month in which Mavundla overthrew his predecessor, Buhle Mthethwa.
The source said the money formed part of a R20m tranche allocated by Nafhold to Nafcoc in 2006 for a five-year period.
Half of that money was used by Mthethwa’s leadership between 2006 and November 2009, about three years.
The other R10m, allocated when the Mavundla leadership took over, was depleted before the new administration had been in office for even a year.
It is understood that Nafhold turned down the Mavundla leadership’s request for extra funding because the leadership could not account for how R10m had been spent in such a short time.
Nafhold’s refusal to release extra money appears to be the final straw that broke relations between Nafcoc’s head office and Nafhold, and the investment arm is now being liquidated.
Although six presidents of Nafcoc provincial structures this week confirmed on record that there was a financial crisis, only one said his constituency would help.
News of Nafcoc’s financial crisis comes amid speculation that the small business chamber is involved in negotiations to acquire a 30% stake of The Employment Bureau of Africa (Teba) Bank.
Nafcoc Limpopo president Isaac Masekwameng said the constituency would offer to contribute to the bail-out.
Dan Mbuli, the secretary-general of Nafcoc Free State, said his constituency would not provide bail-out cash until the national leadership provided financial records showing where the R10m had gone.
“We need to get a detailed breakdown of what happened to their budget allocation before we can offer them any money,” said Mbuli.
He added that head office had failed to consult with its constituencies before getting involved in acquisition talks with Teba Bank.
“Proper consultations and research should be conducted before any talks with Teba Bank can continue,” Mbuli said.
He also expressed concern that Pinky Mkhize, Nafcoc’s second vice-president, was suspended during Women’s month.
“We want Mkhize, Nafcoc’s most senior female leader, to be reinstated as soon as possible, as this is embarrassing to our organisation,” he said.
Matsie Matsie, Nafcoc’s North West president, declined to comment.
“This matter should be handled internally,” he said.
Nafcoc Mpumalanga’s Kunene said that Mpumalanga still had to decide what to do about a bail-out.
Mkhize, who is also the KwaZulu-Natal chair, said that her province would not be throwing any money into the hat.
Nafcoc’s Western Cape president, Mongezi Memani, declined to comment.
On Friday, Mavundla denied that the chamber was broke.
“Where are you picking up this crap?” he asked. “Nafcoc is not broke and the only time our personnel were paid late was after we took over last November.”
He refused to be drawn on the acquisition talks involving Teba Bank.
“Even if Nafcoc was about to acquire Teba Bank, where were you going to fit this good development among the rubbish you are busy writing?” Mavundla said.
- City Press
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