Samwu consultant dodges questioning

By Shanti Aboobaker And Amy Musgrave Time of article published Aug 26, 2014

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Johannesburg - Authorities have confirmed that financial consultant to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), Samuel Phaswane, dodged the police on Monday.

Phaswane was ordered to report to the police on Monday to make a statement, but his lawyer refused to bring his client without seeing a charge sheet.

Now the police have no choice but to prepare a warrant of arrest for the consultant, who has been implicated in R136 million which is missing from Samwu’s coffers.

Phaswane refused to confirm or deny what had happened, saying “it’s none of your business” when pushed.

A grouping called Save Our Samwu (SOS), comprising expelled members of the union, charges that many of the dodgy transactions were carried out under Phaswane’s watch.

The consulting firm contracted by Samwu, Mpamba Solutions, is at the centre of the controversy that has rent the union down the middle.

It manages the union’s finances and Phaswane’s services have allegedly cost over R6-million, despite a high-level Samwu meeting to ditch him.

Expelled, dismissed and suspended union leaders, who have been sidelined for questioning national office bearers about the missing money, will now meet with the National Prosecuting Authority on Wednesday.

The whistleblowers, SOS, will be pushing for further arrests of union officials because they say Phaswane is not the only person allegedly guilty of corruption.

The police have their hands full with the union.

Not only are they looking into the missing money, but they are also investigating a number of death threats allegedly made against Samwu’s national office bearers.

The union’s Mpumalanga secretary, Saul Simelane, said a provincial executive committee meeting had concluded that the office bearers needed to upgrade their security.

“There have been one or two occasions where the general secretary was physically attacked in his place of residence in Johannesburg. There have also been death threats on their cellphones,” Simelane told Independent Newspapers.

He said some staffers working at Samwu’s head office in central Johannesburg were even going to work with firearms because they feared for their lives.

Simelane did not want to speculate who was behind the attacks and threats, saying police were investigating.

The signs that South Africa’s largest municipal workers’ union is at an advanced state of implosion are becoming clearer.

It places greater pressure on the Congress of SA Trade Unions, of which Samwu is an affiliate, to act quickly and decisively.


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