News / 11 August 2019, 12:14pm / PIET RAMPEDI, MZILIKAZI WA AFRIKA AND KARABO NGOEPE
Johannesburg - A group of politicians, campaign managers and strategists earned millions for their roles in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s successful ANC presidential campaign, with some having been on the CR17 payroll for the 12 months leading up to the party’s Nasrec conference.
According to campaign records seen by the Sunday Independent - including emails and financial statements - the beneficiaries of the R1billion campaign funds included ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Enoch Godongwana, Ramaphosa’s adviser Marion Sparg, Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Deputy Minister in the Presidency Thembi Siweya, former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana, former DA politician Grant Pascoe, Cosatu and the Western Cape ANC, among others.
Siweya, who was until recently an ANC Youth League NEC member, and Ntshavheni, a former ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) member, were the campaign managers in Limpopo.
ANC top brass defended Ramaphosa this week, saying that the leaking of the campaign emails exposed nothing illegal, but was “a calculated manoeuvre to defocus and detract from the immediate task of socio-economic issues and dealing with the challenges of our economy”.
Ntshavheni was paid R5 million through a company called Phore Farms Pty Ltd, of which she was a managing director until recently.
According to Ntshavheni’s CV, when she was appointed a board member of state-owned arms manufacturing company Denel in 2015, she was “employed as a managing director at Phore Farms (Pty) Ltd.
Matlou Elias Mathekga is listed as Phore’s sole director.
Sparg, who was the campaign communications strategist, was paid R2.4m, Siweya R2.3m, Pascoe R900 000, Dukwana R600 000, Godongwana R400 000 and former journalist Vukile Pokwana R818 000 in monthly instalments between January 2017 and February last year.
They were paid monthly salaries of between R50 000 and R180 000 each, with Sparg, Dukwana and Pokwana receiving payments after the conference.
Cosatu, one of the leading campaigners, received R800 000 in two tranches of R500 000 and R300 000, the Western Cape ANC R1m, Mpumalanga Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association R70000 and the Congress of South African Students R20 000.
At least R8.4m was spent on hotel accommodation for ANC delegates at Southern Sun and Protea hotels.
Southern Sun was paid R7.5m in two tranches of R4m and R3.5m on October 19 and December 12, 2017 respectively, while Protea Hotel was paid R94000 on November 24.
Two entities referred to only as “Maverick State” and “Times Media” were paid R300 000 and R5 200 each on March 11 and June 7, 2017.
After the conference, the rest of the money totalling millions was transferred into the accounts of various property companies and trusts including Tshivhase Trust, Royal Property, Levi Properties, Ayt Properties and Dart Properties last year.
The records further show that the campaign received post-Nasrec conference donations worth R14m from various business people, trusts and organisations between January and October last year.
These included: former Absa chief executive Maria Ramos, who donated R1m to the Ria Tenda Trust on October 25 last year; Johnny Copelyn, director of eNCA owner Hosken Consolidated Investments, who put in R2m in August last year; and Seriti Resources CEO Mike Teke, who transferred R600 000 in two tranches in January and February last year.
Ramos was later appointed to the Public Investment Corporation board announced by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni last month, after being initially tipped to become Eskom’s chief restructuring officer.
According to Seriti Resources’ website, the mining company “supplies coal to Eskom’s Lethabo, Tutuka and Kriel power stations”, which collectively generates about 23% of the country’s electricity.
The company bought Eskom mines from Anglo American in 2017 and its shareholders included Thebe Investments.
It’s chaired by Anna Mokgokong and its directors include businessman Sandile Zungu. Another post-conference donor was ANDH Trust, which put in R10m on November 12 last year.
The R14m in post-Nasrec donations raises questions about whether the donors sought to buy influence, contracts or positions.
It has also emerged from the financial statements that other prominent businessmen donated large sums to the CR17 campaign ahead of the conference.
These included billionaire businessman Nicky Oppenheimer’s family, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust board member Bobby Godsell, former Imperial Holdings chief executive Mark Lamberti, financial services company Sygnia Ltd board member Andre Crawford-Brunt, Goldman Sachs Southern African chief executive Colin Coleman and Eskom board member Sifiso Dabengwa.
Billionaire businesswoman Magda Wierzycka is the co-founder and CEO of Sygnia.
The Oppenheimers donated R10m in two instalments of R5, Godsell R250000, Dabengwa R1.2m, Lamberti R1m, Coleman R70000 and Pick * Pay owner Raymond Ackerman R1m.
Mining and energy company Phembani donated R2m, Grovepoint Limited R1.8m and Aspen Pharmacare R150000.
Aspen received state contracts worth R2bn in 2015.
Phembani, founded by former MTN chief executive Phuthuma Nhleko, merged with Ramaphosa’s empowerment investment group Shanduka in 2015 in an apparent bid to resolve the then-deputy president’s business conflict.
The group’s subsidiary, Umcebo Mining, supplies coal to Eskom through its Wonderfontein Colliery.
Goldman Sachs spokesperson Matthew Newton said Coleman could not comment on donations because, “any donation would have been in a strictly personal capacity”.
Godongwana said “no comment”.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko, Sparg, Ntshavheni, Siweya, Ramos and Dabengwa did not respond to questions sent for comment.
Aspen’s Nicolau confirmed the donation to the CR17 campaign as part of Aspen’s “contribution towards building a non racial, non sexist society”.
He added that the money had no influence towards the ARV tender that they were recently awarded “when Ramapahosa became President”.
Dukwana, Lamberti, Godsell and Oppenheimer could not be reached for comment on Saturday.