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The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) has fired its general secretary Katishi Masemola after a protracted battle among its leaders over missing millions of rand.

Fawu, which is the SA Federation of Trade Unions’ second largest affiliate, with 126 000 members, informed Masemola on September 4 through its president, Atwell Nazo, after a disciplinary hearing.

The union told Masemola he could appeal his dismissal at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Nazo told Independent Media on Saturday that Fawu disciplined and fired Masemola for millions lost by the union.

He said R19 million was lost in its investment company Basebenzi Investment Group, of which Masemola was acting chief executive.

According to Nazo, Fawu established that another R20m was moved from members’ subscription fees to the investment company without the authorisation from national office bearers.

This week, Fawu deputy general secretary Mayoyo Mngomezulu wrote to Masemola stating that the union’s special national executive council in July decided to endorse his suspension and the disciplinary process.

“The special national executive council further endorsed the decision by the national office bearers to have an external chairperson conducting the disciplinary process in order to provide the general secretary (Masemola) with a lawful and fair process.”

Fawu has been embroiled in a protracted battle with Masemola after the union abandoned the country’s largest federation in 2016.

Earlier this year, Independent Media reported that labour relations registrar Lehlohonolo Molefe demanded answers from the union for its decision to suspend Masemola over the writing-off of R19.2m in Basebenzi Investment Group.

Molefe said there was no system of internal control over subscription income of R73.6m on which his office could rely for the purpose of its audit, and there were no satisfactory auditing procedures it could perform to obtain reasonable assurance that all subscription income was properly recorded.

Nazo notified Fawu members and structures that Masemola was suspended pending investigation and that the decision was taken by the board of directors of the Basebenzi Investment Group and endorsed by its national executive council.

Masemola was unavailable for comment yesterday and did not return messages.

Political Bureau