Bantu Holomisa. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
DETERMINED: United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa says denials are part of African National Congress culture. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

UNITED Democratic Movement president Bantu Holomisa has stuck to his guns despite mounting pressure to withdraw allegations that R42m from public servants pension schemes was channelled to the African National Congress (ANC) last month.

Mr Holomisa made the startling allegations in a letter to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, calling on her to launch an urgent investigation into the affairs of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

It emerged this week that a R1.5bn empowerment deal involving oil and gas company Total was one of the transactions that Mr Holomisa flagged, claiming it was concluded without doing due diligence being done.

Total SA confirmed this week that shareholders of Tosaco, the company’s black economic empowerment partner, had sold their shares to new empowerment partners Kilimanjaro Sakhumnotho. This deal was funded by the PIC, which manages about R1.5-trillion in assets on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund.

"I have information to say no due diligence was done. That information will be forwarded to the public protector when it’s required," Mr Holomisa said.

Kilimanjaro Sakhumnotho director Lawrence Mulaudzi said the transaction was above board.

"The consortium applied for funding to various institutions and obtained funding from the PIC, after having complied with all of PIC’s funding requirements, including the conduct of comprehensive due diligence investigations," he said.

The ANC has said it had no knowledge of such transactions, with treasurer Zweli Mkhize describing Mr Holomisa’s claims as "false and baseless".

Early this week, Mr Holomisa filed a complaint with Ms Madonsela, asking for an investigation into allegations that R42m from the PIC had been channelled to the ANC.

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

Of the R42m, R40m was an alleged payment from the PIC to the ANC during the second week of last month. A further R2m had been transferred from a PIC account to private equity company Harith General Partners, also for the benefit of the governing party, Mr Holomisa claimed.

Both Harith and the PIC have denied the allegations and have undertaken to co-operate should the public protector investigate.

However, Mr Holomisa remained firm. "I am not turning back. Denials are part of the culture of the ANC," he said, adding that he was confident a forensic investigation would get to the bottom of the matter.

Campaigner for transparency in political party funding Judith February, speaking on behalf of the My Vote Counts campaign, said Mr Holomisa’s complaint again raised concern about the lack of transparency in party funding.

She said the complaint, the veracity of which has yet to be established, also raised the possibility of state abuse of resources for "narrow political gain".

Ms February said transparency in political party funding should now become a "matter of priority" — particularly ahead of the local government elections.