Picture : Simone Kley/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The embattled South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) said on Wednesday that it has mandated its national office bearers to open criminal cases against other persons and companies involved in stealing money from the union account.

This as Samwu confirmed that the workers' coffers had been plundered of almost R88 million in just three years and said that the report into this wide-scale plundering had been kept under wraps. 

Samwu said the bank accounts had a combined balance of just more than R94.5 million by 3 November 2015, but this had drastically decreased and the union's bank balance was over R6.2 million, and not the R538 which has been widely reported in the media. 

"The special CEC has therefore resolved that the attorneys which have been implicated in the report should be removed from the union’s panel of attorneys and also be reported to the law society," it said.

"Employees who have been implicated in the report will be charged with gross negligence and criminal charges will be laid with the police. Where such a determination is made monies will be recouped from all the individuals that are implicated. 

"The special CEC further mandated NOB’s to open criminal cases against other persons/companies involved in stealing money from the union account."

Reports emerged this week that a damning forensic investigation revealed that millions of rands that was meant to be put aside as a strike fund to keep food on the tables of Samwu's striking members, were redirected to cover some of the union's operational costs and to buy T-shirts. 

The forensic investigation into five allegations of misappropriation and irregularities of the union's finances was conducted by accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY) in 2016, but was kept under lock and key until recently.

Samwu laid the blame squarely at the feet of its former president, Pule Molalenyane, whom it accused of hiding the E&Y report from the union's structures. 

"According to Ernst & Young, Molalenyane is the only person who had access to the report, a report which was later leaked to the public."

Samwu - whose top officials were currently holding a special central executive committee (CEC) meeting this week - said in a statement that employees who have been implicated in the report will be charged with gross negligence and criminal charges will be pursued against them.

On the strike fund which was stopped in 2012 and whose proceeds were used to buy T-shirts, Samwu said auditors have recommended the development of policies on how to deal with and manage funds of this nature to prevent possible abuse in future.  


E&Y auditors also found no sufficient evidence to confirm allegations that a service provider was irregularly paid R3 million which was noted as storage fees in respect of the costs incurred in renovating the union's Johannesburg Head Office.

But this was only due to the fact that the service provider did not cooperate with the investigation.

The auditors also did not find sufficient evidence to support allegations of irregularities in Samwu's operating expenses incurred during the union's 11th National Congress in 2015.

But, auditors noted that a total of more than R4.8 million was spent for the union's 11th National Congress in Durban in 2015. 

Samwu said that, in the spirit of accountability and transparency, it had asked E&Y to write an executive summary of the report which would be shared with its members because the original report was private and confidential as it contained details of individuals and entities.

African News Agency/ANA