Samwu denies R130m has gone missing

By Shanti Aboobaker Time of article published Sep 3, 2014

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Johannesburg - The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) says allegations that more than R130 million is missing from its coffers are unfounded.

Instead it has lashed out at sidelined union leaders who have been making the accusations, accusing them of being “financially illiterate”.

However, the union has admitted there are concerns around the costs incurred during the relocation of its head office from Cape Town to Joburg, which cost an extra R6m. This was because a building contractor paid the money apparently did not deliver on the necessary services. It was meant to come to R13m.

On Tuesday, members of an internal task team appointed to look into the “missing” millions alleged that some of the sidelined union leaders were part of a building committee that gave the go-ahead for the relocation.

Save Our Samwu (SOS) has also taken issue with R399 000 that was paid monthly to Mpamba Solutions, a different firm that was appointed to manage the renovations.

Task team member Simon Mathe said the union was outraged that SOS was also only now taking issue with the appointment of Mpamba.

“We are shocked and surprised that some (members of SOS) who formed part of the building committee are those raising questions regarding the irregular appointment of (Mpamba),” Mathe said.

He said SOS’s only concern was “discrediting and assassinating” the characters of members of the task team.

Samwu, which was once a powerful municipal union, has been rent down the middle over the scandal of the missing money. SOS and other union leaders and members have repeatedly called for a forensic audit to ascertain the true state of the union’s finances.

They also want the union’s national office-bearers (NOBs) to be suspended because they accuse them of deliberately dividing the union. About 40 union leaders and staff have been dismissed, expelled or suspended for questioning the national leadership about the unauthorised spending.

Asked if the union would allow for a forensic audit to be conducted, deputy general secretary Moses Miya, said they first wanted to exhaust all internal processes.

But the chances of this happening are slim. The task team says the allegations are unfounded.

Meanwhile, Samwu general secretary Walter Theledi has confirmed claims that he has been forced to get bodyguards because of a number of death threats.

The Star

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