‘R140m gone from union’s account’

By Daneel Knoetze Time of article published Jun 4, 2014

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Cape Town - The SA Municipal Workers Union’s suspended provincial secretary, Andre Adams, on Wednesday morning briefed local membership about funds “stolen” by national office bearers.

The meeting with staff at the municipality’s Southern Peninsula Depot was the first in a series organised by Adams and his supporters to “educate” members about “corruption” at Samwu’s national head office. Another meeting is scheduled to take place in Cape Town on Thursday.

Adams claims he and 14 other high-ranking provincial leaders across the country were suspended recently for raising questions about around R140 million in misappropriated and missing union funds.

The police Commercial Crimes Unit in Joburg confirmed it was investigating the missing millions.

A document circulated at the Samwu meeting in Ottery this morning purported to “summarise” the state of the union’s finances.

It drew attention to four areas of concern as accounting for the missing R139 548 365. They are:

* A contract to provide photocopying and fax machines expired in December. The union’s financial committee shortlisted Pansolutions and Kyocera for the new one. Yet national office bearers signed a contract with the more expensive Pambili, which will allegedly cost more than R6.4m over the duration of the contract.

* The balance of the union’s call account - reserve funds for education, funeral cover and strike insurance - allegedly dropped from about R177m to about R97m between December 2012 and last January.

* The union’s central executive committee approved a budget of about R13.6m for renovations to Samwu’s Joburg building. The costs of the renovations, as of February, had shot up to R32.7m. This was not approved by the committee.

* The union apparently pays a consultant R400 000 a month. Western Cape leadership claim they have tried to establish what services this consultant provides to justify the expenditure. The total amount paid was apparently R6.4 million. The document notes the central executive committee had ordered that the contract to be terminated in December but this had not been done.

Nadine Simons, a suspended Samwu shop steward facilitating the meetings this week, said the above amounted to “theft” from members who pay monthly subscription fees.

“We are issuing an ultimatum on Wednesday,” she said. “The national office bearers need to resign or be suspended. There must be a forensic investigation. Those provincial leaders who were unfairly dismissed or suspended must be reinstated. Failing this, members will withhold their monthly payments and protest action will follow.”

Samwu general secretary Walter Theledi did not answer his cellphone on Wednesday morning or respond to messages.

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Cape Argus

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