President of the South African Federation resigns over missing million

By Charlene Somduth and Janine Moodley Time of article published Feb 3, 2020

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Durban - THE president of the South African Tamil Federation (SATF) has resigned.

Radha Pillay tendered his resignation on Sunday following a special general meeting of the advisers, trustees and executive of SATF.

The meeting was held in Benoni, Gauteng, to discuss recent reports in the POST that almost R1 million meant for the Tamil community was paid into a private company. What happened to the money thereafter is unknown.

Pilay said he resigned for personal reasons.

Jaya Govender, an SATF-nominated treasurer, and a trustee, Morgan Govindsamy, also resigned at the meeting.

Premi Govender, the deputy president of SATF, is now acting as president.

In a statement, Govender said the issue was being investigated by the current SATF executive. It is headed by Karthi Moothsamy, a trustee, and Dr Murthi Sooboo, an adviser.

“What makes this inquiry awkward is that most of our current office bearers are recent office bearers who have no clue as to what happened 15 years ago.

“The sooner more people who know something about this matter come forward and provide us with some meaningful evidence, the sooner we can respond.”

Meanwhile, several senior members of the Tamil community have written to the POST asking that the directors of the private company that received the funds, SA Tamil Nadu Investments, provide clarity on what happened to the money.

In a statement, the group, who asked not be named just yet, said: “We are representatives of many committed Tamilians who, at considerable personal and financial sacrifice, pursue cultural activism to ensure that our rich heritage is appreciated and preserved. It is therefore with great disappointment that we greet the current debacle.

“One does not want to immediately cast aspersions at the SATF, a proud body that in the past has seen many erudite and respected figures at its helm.

“However, having read the recent articles in the POST and analysing the confusing comments in public, it has become necessary for a clear and unequivocal explanation from SATF and the KZN Tamil Federation (KZNTF) that would dispel all misperceptions or doubts.”

The seniors said their cultural activism had suffered a setback.

“We are seen to be no better than the corrupt politicians who have almost bankrupted our beautiful country. If there is no truth to the allegations of potential shenanigans on this missing million, then the officials must unequivocally assert this with proof to the contrary. If there is a simple explanation, please let us hear what it is and bury this very unpleasant episode.”

The directors of SA Tamil Nadu Investments (the company is currently deregistered) were Morganasundran Athimulam Nadasen Odayar and Somasundrum Kandasamy (Sagie) Moodley.

Last week they told the POST, via an attorney, that the KZNTF had been allocated a 25% benefit and was given the money.

Richard Govender, the president of the KZNTF, confirmed in a statement to the POST the KZNTF received the 25% share.

This week he refused to elaborate on how much the 25% share was when it was paid, or into what account.


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