Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa’s extension of the R350 relief grant to unemployed South Africans has opened a can of worms, with some questioning his motives for the grant and how it links to ANC veteran Tokyo Sexwale’s claims that over a R1 trillion meant to assist the poor was looted at Treasury.
African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) president, the Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, has called for an urgent probe into Sexwale’s allegations.
Sexwale had said he made the discovery when he wanted to channel the funds to the fight against Covid19 and assist struggling university students. to clear the rising debt of university students.
Meshoe said he was shocked how government simply dismissed Sexwale’s allegations. He said it was abnormal that in a transparent democracy allegations involving large sums of money linking key leaders of government were left unquestioned.
“It’s a concern that so much money was sent to South Africa and it has disappeared. No one seems to be interested in following leads and interviewing people who would know about this. We need money when they are quiet and not saying anything. It raises questions that maybe one of them is benefiting from the money,” Meshoe said.
Meshoe said Sexwale was a former minister and should be called to present evidence of the missing funds. “It is the outcome of the investigation that can tell. They can’t just say Tokyo is not telling the truth because it’s a lot of money. He can’t just pull something out of thin air and make a wild allegation. He is their former colleague that they should be trusting,” Meshoe said.
He said the country was lacking honest and trustworthy leadership, and the recent mall looting was a sign that citizens were learning bad habits from the country’s politicians.
“The poor are emulating their role models. Those who looted know that those in government also looted, but now we see that they don’t call each other out. They go for officials and not the ring leaders. We see on TV the army and the police are taking goods from the poor, but what about the rich,” Meshoe said.
He said if South Africa was not careful the country would end up like other problematic African states that were destroyed by corruption and thuggery.
“We pay for taxes in South Africa, that’s why we want to see accountability. There have been presidents on the African continent that have been wealthier than the country; when a person is richer than a country it means the money is going into that person’s pocket,” Meshoe said.
The Independent Liberation & Allied Workers Union (Ilawu) has accused Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni of using the White Spiritual Boy funds for ANC campaigns. “It’s strange that there’s suddenly money to pay unemployed citizens and rescue businesses that were destroyed by looting, but there was no money to fund free education.
“It’s clear that this money has always been there. Is this the money Tokyo was talking about? Ramaphosa knows where these funds are. We are going to write to the public protector and the NPA to investigate." said Ilawu secretary-general Siphamandla Masimula.
Civil society organisation, the Real Democracy, said there were many questions that remained unanswered about the claims raised by Sexwale. Spokesperson Srini Naidoo said the organisation believed that there was money that had gone missing from the State during the transition to democracy.
He called for an investigation into all missing funds between the 1980s and last year. “We should uncover all the lies and expose State capture where it truly exists,” Naidoo said.
Hawks spokesperson Katlego Mogale said police were investigating the allegations made by Sexwale.
“We don’t have an update worth talking about,” Mogale said.
The South African Reserve Bank has said the allegations made by Sexwale were not true as the bank would have known about such huge amounts of money coming into the country.
According to Sexwale, an oligarch invested trillions of dollars in the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland.
He said the money was to be used by all African governments, including Indian Ocean Island countries, for their individual philanthropic and humanitarian work at an interest rate of less than 2%.
Sexwale said the funds were deposited in 2016, but he became one of the two South African mandate holders in January 2019.
He, however, alleged that billions of donor funds were stolen from the central bank and allegedly channelled to 18 local commercial banks, including various prominent business people in the country.