Johannesburg - Cosatu has also come out to confirm that it received money from the R1 billion fund used to canvass ahead of the 2017 ANC’s Nasrec conference.
Its general secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali, justified the donation by saying they wanted to ensure that Cyril Ramaphosa was elected first as ANC president and later the country’s one.
He said because the federation did not want to use money from member unions, they approached the fund for financing and stressed that there was nothing sinister about that.
Speaking to Newzroom Afrika on Monday, Ntshalintshali did not say what the money was used for. “The money we received was never secret, we discussed it in our central executive committee when we said we can’t use workers money which we don’t have. For this campaign, we must seek funding which we did. So, it was never a secret when it comes out, for us it was a non-issue,” he said.
This came as one of the key players who was being blamed for short-changing branches, Small Business Development Minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni remained mum, not responding to emails, messages and calls on the matter.
According to the Sunday Independent, which had access to the banking details of the fund before they were sealed by the North Gauteng High Court, the minister allegedly kept some of the money for herself.
Ntshavheni, who was the campaign co-ordinator in Limpopo, also allegedly gave local ANC leaders a quarter of the R6000 allocated per branch to help sway members in Ramaphosa’s favour during the branch general meetings held before the Nasrec conference.
While she remained silent, a group calling itself “CR17 ground forces” was demanding that Ramaphosa remove Cabinet ministers who were tainted in the growing scandal.
In a letter widely circulated on WhatsApp on Monday, the “forces” claimed that they were representing volunteers from the country’s nine provinces who worked in the campaign but were not paid.
The letter was not signed and had no contact details, making it appear as if it was a malicious attempt to further milk the scandal and further divide Ramaphosa’s fervent supporters.
The faceless forces said they were “disappointed and angered by the revelations that opportunistic, parasitic charlatans have used the CR17 campaigns fund for their benefit at the expense of the ground forces”.
“We are disappointed and saddened that some people received monthly stipends ranging from R1000 to R5million from the CR17 campaign, while we volunteered our time and energy for free to ensure our President Cyril Ramaphosa got overwhelming votes at Nasrec.
“It’s also disturbing that the likes of Ntshavheni, Thembi Siweya, Zizi Kodwa and Fikile Mbalula were further awarded with ministerial/deputy minister positions for squandering CR17 campaigns fund,” read the letter.
Kodwa has since denied that the R50 000 paid to him was part of the CR17 campaign saying it was a payment for his employment by the ANC.