COSATU shocked by allegations against Dina Pule

Federation calls for independent investigation into Sunday Times claims about ICT Indaba

COSATU demands probe into allegations against minister

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is shocked at allegations concerning Minister of Communications, Comrade Dina Pule.

The Sunday Times alleges that millions of rands in sponsorship fees, which the minister had persuaded Telkom, MTN and Vodacom to contribute towards the cost this month's high-profile ICT Indaba, were drawn from the account of a company called Carol Bouwer Designs to whom the department had outsourced the organisation of the Indaba.

Carol Bouwer then hired a company called Khemano, to handle the "event management" part of the Indaba. That company is owned by Phosane Mngqibisa, who is alleged to be romantically linked to the minister.

The three companies - Telkom, MTM and Vodacom - donated R25.7-million, and the Department of Communications added another R10.5-million.

Carol Bouwer confirmed to the newspaper that Mngqibisa was a "second signatory" to her company bank account and that he had "access to the account until the conclusion of the Indaba".

Mngqibisa has denied any impropriety, telling the Sunday Times that he prefers to keep his private personal life private, since he is not a public figure. "I strongly deny all allegations of impropriety against me, and challenge anyone making such allegations to [provide] evidence".

COSATU demands a thorough, independent investigation into the allegations, to establish whether there is any evidence that they are true. If so it will once again highlight the danger of an arrangement between a public representative and a private company run by a close friend or family member.

That is why the federation continues to demand that no state official should ever be involved, directly or indirectly, with any private company that does business with the state, through outsourcing or tendering. There is an inevitable danger of a conflict of interest, which opens the door to the looting of public funds for private enrichment. 

This is why the federation is opposed to the increased use of tendering and outsourcing of services, which could and should be performed directly by the public service workers.

COSATU reiterates its determination to campaign for a change in mindset to rid the movement of such practices. The problem is well captured in the ANC Discussion Paper on Organisational Renewal, to be debated next week at the Policy Conference, when it says "the negative effects of incumbency have severely impacted on the character of our movement as a national liberation movement and disciplined force of the left.

"The neo-liberal ideological paradigm has also hugely eroded the core values of selflessness, integrity, solidarity and genuine comradeship. The selfish pursuit of self-interest and factional interest are now placed above the interests of the entire organisation and the people as a whole."

Let us hope that that view is endorsed by the ANC delegates and that we are going to ruthlessly implement a policy of zero-tolerance to any form of corruption, fraud or looting of public money.

Statement issued by Patrick Craven, COSATU national spokesperson, June 18 2012

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