Disgraced former ANC spokesman Carl Niehaus thinks he’s up for a new position within the upper echelons of the ruling party, despite a history of financial mismanagement and massive debts to some of its wealthiest members.
In an interview on Talk Radio 702 this morning, Niehaus said that after three years in the political wilderness he was back on track after his embarrassing resignation as ANC spin doctor. He had paid off his debts, made peace with the allegations of fraud and now believed a formal position within the ANC was in his near future.
He declined to speculate on the position, saying it would be up to the party “to speak about that”.
In 2009, Niehaus wept in an interview published in the Mail & Guardian as he confessed to mismanaging his personal finances to the point where he allegedly committed fraud.
But today he lashed out at media that labelled him a “fraudster”, saying he was never convicted, or charged.
However, in 2009 Niehaus admitted to having forged signatures while he was chief executive of the Gauteng Economic Development Agency in efforts to secure a loan.
In 2005 he wrote a fraudulent letter and forged the signatures of numerous top officials in the ANC – then-MECs Paul Mashatile (finance), Ignatius Jacobs (transport), Khabisi Mosunkutu (agriculture) and Angie Motshekga (education).
This morning, Niehaus said he withdrew the letter before it could be used to secure the loan, implying that this had cleared him of fraud.
He also admitted to borrowing money from the ANC’s wealthiest stalwarts including Tokyo Sexwale, Pallo Jordan and Cyril Ramaphosa.
He even asked to be connected to businessman Brett Kebble for a possible loan, and had to leave several top jobs because of his financial woes.
Among his debts were R700 000 to the Rhema Church, where he was chief executive; and a R24 000 debt to then-director-general in the presidency Frank Chikane. This was some of the estimated R4.5 million he owed.
But Niehaus said all his debts had been settled, thanks to his current employment as a representative at NGN Telecommunications, which provides voice and data services to government institutions, government-owned entities, public and private-owned businesses and retail clients.
DA Gauteng health spokesman Jack Bloom, who originally laid a charge of fraud against Niehaus after his resignation, said today that the case against Niehaus – as far as he was aware – was still being probed by the SAPS commercial crimes division.
“He is a self-confessed fraudster, so I’m not sure why the ANC would take him on. He still has a cloud over his head,” said Bloom.
The ANC could not comment on Niehaus’s future employment today. Spokesman Keith Khoza said he would investigate the claim.