JOHANNESBURG - Dr Dennis George has responded to his dismissal as the Fedusa General Secretary.
George said in a statement, "On 22 February 2019, I stated for the record that Fedusa currently does not have an investment company through which it transacts for empowerment investments. I said then that Difeme Investments was used as a nominee to warehouse AYO shares until such time as Fedusa and/or its affiliates set up companies to take up the AYO shares. Unlike other unions with investment companies, Fedusa was considering how best to generate additional revenue streams. Until Fedusa and its affiliates were certain about the direction of establishing investment companies, these shares are warehoused with no risk to Difeme."
The statement went on, "In numerous meetings and correspondence since the allocation of 11 million shares to Difeme Investments, I had engaged with Fedusa affiliates, such as the Public Servants' Association (PSA), the National Union of Leather Workers (NULAW) to arrange for the allocation of these shares to these affiliates. My motivation was simply that these shares would assist Fedusa affiliates in building worker participation in the economy, that the affiliates would be financially strengthened and that workers would have representation on the board of the largest black ICT company in the country, AYO."
George added, "I reject with contempt the insinuation that I intended to benefit personally from these shares. These share only become tradable after the 5 year lockin period is completed. I am proud to be a non-executive director of AYO representing the interest of more than 2.5 million workers in South Africa today. My appointment to the AYO board was done with the full support and nomination of Fedusa. AYO believes in black economic empowerment, an inclusive economy and supports BEE initiatives which include the participation of workers in this economy."
"The decision of Fedusa and/or affiliates to establish investment companies and take up these shares is entirely up to them. My role was to facilitate and ensure that they are given this opportunity. I have done this according to my discussions with these affiliates. I hope that they take up these shares so that they can benefit in the interest of workers from the growth of the share price and the dividends. It would be sad if, due to the negative media, which is defamatory against AYO, it is used to influence these affiliates not to take up these shares at the cost of workers not benefiting from shares," said George.
George said, "Like other trade unions, I hope that Fedusa and its affiliates will take up this generous offer by AYO since it is the workers who will benefit from the value of AYO shares and from the dividends that will be received. However, Fedusa and its affiliates might not wish to take up this offer as a result of the negative media. If this is so, I will consult with AYO and recommend that these shares be made available to the workers directly so that they could benefit from the investment in AYO."
"I have spent my entire life as a man of integrity, as someone who has fought for workers’ and employees’ rights. I have fought against corruption and I continue to do so. I am shocked that such disinformation and deliberate misrepresentation of my position in the facilitation of AYO shares to workers is being misconstrued. I was told by FEDUSA National Executive Committee members that the Federation spent more than R600 000 on legal fees to get rid of me as General Secretary, while I only had a few months to complete my term of office on 31 January 2020."
In the meantime COSATU trade unions are growing financial stronger with the AYO shares and are able to grant bursaries to the children of trade union members," George concluded.