ANC military veteran chiefs took funds for personal use - report


LEADERS OF the African National Congress’s former military wing have received hundreds of thousands of euros from its veterans’ association accounts since 2005 while ordinary members have lived in poverty, it has been claimed.

South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper reported yesterday that a draft report based on the audit of two accounts of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association reveals that just over €500,000 was taken for personal use by those involved.

Thousands of veterans have paid a heavy price for volunteering to fight the apartheid regime and since the advent of democracy, very few have been successfully reintegrated into society. Many live in abject poverty and receive little in the way of state help despite their sacrifices.

Rank-and-file members of the military veterans’ association, which is supposed to support hard-up veterans, have long suspected that top officials were financially benefiting from their positions, which are voluntary.

According to the weekly publication, auditing firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo allegedly points the finger at a former association treasurer Dumisani Khoza, former chairman Deacon Mathe, current treasurer Johannes “Sparks” Motseki and current chairman Kebby Maphatsoe as the veterans who benefited from the cash withdrawals.

The audit was commissioned by a group of former MK vets from exile called the “commissariat”. They have laid criminal charges against the four MK bosses named in the report.

The investigators who compiled the report pointed out their analysis was based solely on the two bank statements cash flow and that a much more in-depth audit needed to be done.

Consequently, they say, their findings do not “suggest that these individuals were not entitled to some of the funds”, or take into account “that some of the funds might have been paid back”.

“It merely gives an indication of the flow of funds and the possible extent of any [personal] benefit,” the report states.

Their analysis found that account funds were used to pay for jewellery, spa treatments and school drama lessons. In addition, large sums of cash were withdrawn before Christmas. It is also alleged the cash was used to maintain the business interests of those involved, and that half of all the money that went through the accounts was availed of.

When approached for comment, Mr Maphatsoe, one of the alleged beneficiaries, said those directly in the firing line had decided not to answer questions about the forensic analysis or the pending court action because ongoing efforts have been under way to sort the issue out internally.

“Disciplined cadres do not go to the courts and to the media,” he told the Mail and Guardian.