United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa. Picture: ARNOLD PRONTO
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa. Picture: ARNOLD PRONTO

UNITED Democratic Movement (UDM) president Bantu Holomisa has filed a complaint with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela asking for an investigation into allegations that money from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) was channelled to the African National Congress (ANC).

The money was allegedly used to pay party employees’ salaries and for the ANC’s birthday celebrations two weeks ago.

In a letter to Ms Madonsela, he lists three alleged transactions that place the PIC at the centre of what could potentially explode into a scandal.

In an official complaint, Mr Holomisa calls on Ms Madonsela to investigate a R40m payment from the PIC to the ANC during the second week of last month. This allegedly helped the ANC pay staff salaries last month, and to pay for its anniversary bash held in Rustenburg.

A further R2m had been transferred from a PIC account to private equity company Harith General Partners, also for the benefit of the ruling party, Mr Holomisa claimed.

Mr Holomisa also said the PIC was about to fund a R1.5bn transaction, to help an overseas-based investment company with interests in the rest of Africa buy into SA-based assets.

The PIC manages about R1.5-trillion in assets on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund.

On Tuesday, PIC spokesman Sekgoela Sekgoela denied the allegations and undertook to co-operate with the public protector should the investigation take off.

"The PIC has not been approached by the public protector and it is not aware of these allegations.

"However, should the public protector investigate any transactions, the PIC will give its full co-operation," he said.

Harith investor relations and communications executive Pule Molebeledi denied that the company was involved in facilitating funds to the ANC. "We unequivocally and strongly deny that we received any money from the PIC meant for the ANC.

"No such payment took place. We reserve our rights given the reputational impact such an unwarranted and false claim will have on our business," he said. The ANC declined to comment on Tuesday. Spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni said the party would look into the matter and respond at a later stage. The claim has the tinge of a previous funding scandal. In 2004 Sandile Majali, now deceased, was accused of channelling money to the ANC from state oil company PetroSA through his company Imvume.

The office of the public protector on Tuesday confirmed receiving the complaint from Mr Holomisa, but could not immediately confirm whether the matter would be investigated. The public protector normally holds an internal assessment before making an announcement on whether or not it will investigate.

Mr Holomisa last night said allegations like these showed "the arrogance of power at its best, where they can resort to the use of savings of the workers."

He said he was confident about the process he went through in gathering and verifying the preliminary information that convinced him of the need to rope in the public protector. "I don’t normally rush without having satisfied myself on the basis." Mr Holomisa said he had been anonymously informed of possible corruption at the PIC and urged Ms Madonsela to speedily start a probe.

Congress of South African Trade Unions president Sdumo Dlamini said it was "difficult" to comment on mere allegations. The federation presides over a number of public sector unions, whose funds are managed by the PIC.

This is not the first high-profile matter Mr Holomisa has forwarded to the public protector. He was one of the figures that pushed for a probe into irregular procurement at the Electoral Commission of SA, known as the IEC, which led to chairwoman Pansy Tlakula’s resignation.