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Nafcoc takes on the Black Business Council

Sep 09 2018 06:19
Lesetja Malope

The National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) has threatened to plunge the recently revived Black Business Council (BBC) into more disarray if it does not get its way.

Nafcoc, which boasts the majority of the BBC’s affiliate membership, has given the recently elected leadership of the BBC an ultimatum to either address grievances stemming from the recent conference or face a mass exodus of membership.

According to two sources close to the matter – as well as documents seen by City Press – Nafcoc has disputed the results of the elective conference held in Midrand a month ago.

After losing out on seats at the elective conference, Nafcoc lodged a complaint against the organisation, outlining a series of alleged organisational constitutional violations, including that BBC president Sandile Zungu was not eligible for election as a national office-bearer.

The complaint, seen by City Press, outlines a number of issues said to have gone wrong at the conference.

It was submitted five days after the conference.

Nafcoc candidates lost out at the conference, which resulted in a top leadership without one of its members – a first since the re-establishment of the BBC.

Churchill Mrasi, deputy president of Nafcoc, lost to Bridgette Radebe for the chairperson seat and Gilbert Mosena lost to Zungu for the president’s position.

Nafcoc, through its lawyers, sent a letter demanding that the list of issues raised in an earlier letter be addressed or it would go to court for relief.

The letter set a deadline of September 6, the eve of the first-month anniversary of the elected leadershipin the BBC.

“It is our clients’ instruction to have this process reviewed and/or set aside, whether through internal processes or the court,” the letter of demand stated.

Nafcoc president Lawrence Mavundla said the meeting was primarily meant to solve the raised issue and not necessarily to avoid the court route.

“We are more than willing to go to court. We will negotiate and if we fail we will go to court,” Mavundla said prior to Thursday’s meeting, adding that the issue was more about inclusivity as Nafcoc comprises the majority of the BBC’s members.

Mavundla shied away from responding to a question about the organisation leaving the BBC.

BBC and Nafcoc met on Thursday afternoon.

'No concrete undertakings'

Two sources who attended the meeting said no concrete undertakings were made, but the BBC agreed to approach the council, which is the biggest decision-making structure between conferences.

Nafcoc apparently also laid down some options for BBC.

One option was to approach the senate, made up of stalwarts, to find an amicable solution to the matter, a solution communicated in an earlier letter signed by Nafcoc secretary Imogene Phaladi late last month.

Another option was for Nafcoc to go to court to have the conference nullified, a sentiment also expressed in an earlier Nafcoc memorandum signed by Mrasi.

In the same memorandum, Mrasi stated that the “BBC [could] not exist without Nafcoc and its sectors”.

Efforts to get hold of Zungu for comment were fruitless.

. Sandile Zungu did not qualify to stand for election as he had previously served two terms. The constitution limits national office-bearer to two terms. But Zungu had a break in between, so his third term was not consecutive to the two terms he served previously.

. Credentials had a cut-off date of July 31 and the process was initiated from January but corporates and professionals defied the cut-off and stormed the Independent Electoral Commission, with people paying for affiliations on the day of elections.

. Proxies were irregularly secured from corporates without their boards or shareholders’ resolutions and handed in a few minutes prior to the nomination process. The cash was allegedly secured through Gupta connections and was used for affiliating companies that did not attend BBC meetings or were approved by the council.

. The BBC-organised business chapter nominated and mandated representatives at its meeting on August 7 but was later voted out by corporate and professional chapters. This left organised business’ mandated nominee being left out, which was against the constitution.

. The Advancement of Black Accountants of SA (Abasa) seat or nominated person was requested to confirm in writing that he was still an employee or member of Abasa and whether he would stay with Abasa for the whole term. There was no response.

. The Black Management Forum (BMF) was represented by two people; one of whom had a proxy from a different structure that was issued a few hours before the election process. Having two BMF members gave it more advantages than other affiliates and this was prejudicial.

. The stalwarts’ guidelines and advice were rejected and ignored by the corporate proxy holders.

. The IEC refused advice that certain disputed votes should be handled as special votes because Nafcoc intended to take legal opinion or advice on them.

Nafcoc said the BBC was not a union and should represent and be led by black business associations.

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