The Chairperson of the Namaqualand Development Agency gave a brief background about the establishment of the organisation. It had been established in October 2004, yet by April 2010 it was no longer operational and the staff had been retrenched. The presentation included an annex of all the people to whom loans were made but had not repaid them and who had consequently been handed over to attorneys to attempt the recovery of the monies owed.
Members asked what the mission of the organisation was. Was the R10 million it had received to be used to grant loans? What other income did the organisation receive? Why was there was no detail about the board’s salary in the presentation? When and why did the organisation start having problems? What happened to the organisation in the period between 2010 and the present? Were business proposals presented prior to the issuing of loans? What were the loan criteria? What amounts were received after the initial R10 million? What was the current bank balance? When would the committee receive the audited financial statements? Members felt that the matter needed to be taken to a higher level, the Minister of Public Enterprises had to be involved as Alexkor fell under their jurisdiction. The Auditor General and the Hawks had to be roped in to do forensic audits on Alexkor and Namda to get the necessary information required.
The Parliamentary Legal Unit presented its opinion on the available legal remedies that the Committee may explore in order to address concerns in the manner in which Alexkor Development Foundation was being administered. The Foundation was founded by Alexkor Pty Ltd which was a public entity under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Enterprises. This matter should therefore be referred to the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises. It was not clear whether the requisite resolution had been taken by the board in the case of the dissolution of the ADF as a trust, nor was it clear how Namda came about. The Committee on Public Enterprises and the Department of Public Enterprises had to be consulted prior to any possible joint resolution so that the matter could be procedurally correct, as the entities fell under their jurisdiction. As the Foundation was a trust, it was regulated by the Trust Property Control Act and this might require the services of the Master of the Court. In this regard the Auditor General could be invoked to get the information to empower the Master of Court to get at the trust using sections 15 and 16 of the Trust Property Control Act.
Members asked if trustees or officials were exonerated if they had resigned or were no longer working for the trust. Members asked that a joint meeting with Public Enterprises be organised to resolve the matter and that Alexkor Pty Ltd be included.
Namaqualand Development Agency (Namda) Presentation
Mr Lukus Van Rooi, Chairman, Namda, gave a brief background about the establishment of the organisation It was founded in October 2004 with an initial deposit of R10 million by the Namaqualand Diamond Fund Trust (NDFT). The Agency was therefore set up to develop the region economically and to promote sustainable development and capacity building of Previously Disadvantaged Individual (PDI) entrepreneurs.
The presentation included a catalogue of all the people to whom loans were made but had not repaid them and who had consequently been handed over to attorneys to attempt the recovery of the monies owed. By April 2010, Namda was no longer operational and all the staff had been retrenched.
The Chairperson asked if there had been any follow up since 2010 by the lawyers.
Mr Van Rooi replied that there had been follow ups
Mr Johannes (Jesse) Strauss, the former CEO of Namda, added that the lawyers had attempted to get the monies but that the addresses and phone numbers of many people had changed in the interim. When the R10 million had been received it became quickly apparent that it was not enough to cover the operational costs and to provide loans, so Namda had attempted to enter into relationships with other development agencies but thy were not interested. Namda realised that it needed a mentor and so approached WESGRO (an Investment and Trade Promotion Agency for the
Mr M Sonto (ANC) asked what the mission of the organisation was. Was the R10 million used to grant loans? What other income did the organisation receive?
Ms Faith Bikani (ANC) asked why there was no detail about the board’s salary in the presentation. When and why did the organisation start having problems? What happened to the organisation in the period between 2010 and the present?
Ms B Thintwa (ANC) asked if business proposals had been presented before the issuing of loans.
Mr C Gololo (ANC) asked what the loan criteria were.
Mr E Marais (DA) asked what amounts were received after the initial R10 million. What was the current bank balance? When would the Committee receive the audited financial statements? What was to happen to those people with loan repayments outstanding?
Mr H Schmidt (DA) said the loans approximated a total of R3 million. What happened to the other R7 million?
Mr Hyram Raymond, the former CFO of Namda, replied that the R7 million was spent on operational expenses. After all the monies had been exhausted, the organisation had survived on donations. The books of Namda would reflect a zero balance as there was no bank account.
The Chairperson asked if Mr Raymond had any knowledge of Witkop Mine.
Mr Raymond replied that it was not on the organisation’s books and Alexkor would know about it. Namda had an opening balance of R1.2 million given by Alexkor Development Foundation (ADF). It had then received R10 million. Loans totalling R4.6 million had been issued. It had purchased a plant to the value of R2 million and operational costs totalled R3.4 million. The account had been closed in December 2008.
Ms Bikani said that the Committee’s time was being wasted by the piecemeal release of information.
Mr Schmidt said it was totally unacceptable that only a lawyer’s reconciliation account had been provided.
Mr Marais asked how many of the businesses (to whom loans were given) still existed.
Mr Van Rooi explained that audited financial statements existed up till 2007. From that point till 2010 there was a management audited account. The attorneys had refused to continue their work in recovering the debts as they (the attorneys) had not been paid for previous work done.
Mr Sonto said the matter needed to be taken to a higher level. The Minister of Public Enterprises had to be involved as Alexkor fell under his Department’s jurisdiction. He added that the Auditor General had to be roped in to do a forensic audit on Alexkor and Namda to get the necessary information required.
Mr Gololo added that the Hawks could also be called in. He further asked if loans were taken by the trustees and what that amounts were.
Mr Raymond said a company owned by him had taken a loan of R130 000 of which R30 000 was paid back. Mr Van Rooi revealed that he had taken a loan of R250 000 and Mr Losper had taken a loan of R150 000 through his company XYZ Ltd.
Mr Van Rooi undertook to get the management accounts from 2008 to 2010.
The Chairperson said that the matter had been taken up with the Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises and he was in discussions with the Department of Public Enterprises as the Trust was established under its auspices. The issue was not going to disappear and he expected to receive the accounts.
The Chairperson asked how long it would take to provide the Committee with the audited financial statements.
Mr Van Rooi replied that it would take a week to acquire this.
Ms Beverley Vries, Chairperson, ADF, said that one week was not enough and that they would need three weeks.
This was accepted.
Mr Van Rooi said a challenge was that they had no money to pay Pastel Accounting so that they could access their financial accounts.
The Chairperson asked if there was a relationship between Alexkor Pty Ltd and ADF.
Ms Vries said there was a relationship but that it was not honoured on the part of Alexkor Pty Ltd.
The Chairperson asked if there was a relationship with the provincial government.
Mr Strauss said that they had tried to develop a relationship and that this was a possible avenue to be explored.
Mr Joshua Losper, a trustee of ADF, said that it had been a mandate from the provincial government that ADF be dissolved and that the launch of Namda had been chaired by Ms Dipuo Peters, the former Premier of the
Parliamentary Legal advice
Ms Phumelele Ngema, Legal Advisor, Parliamentary Legal Unit, said that the Unit had encountered evasive answers when it investigated how Alexkor Development Foundation was being administered and what legal remedies were available to the Committee. The Unit had concerns about the dissolution of ADF as a trust, as it was not clear whether the requisite resolution had been taken by the board. It was also not clear how Namda came about.
Alexkor Pty Ltd was a public entity under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Enterprises and was the founder of ADF. Thus the proper portfolio committee to deal with this would be the Committee on Public Enterprises.
She further advised that it would be possible to go to the Auditor General, but that as it was a trust, it was regulated by the Trust Property Control Act and that this might require the services of the Master of the Court where sections 15 and 16 of the Act could be used. A possible approach was for the Auditor General to be utilised to get more information which could then be used by the Master of the Court to empower him to go to court to make an order. As the Department of Public Enterprises and the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises had jurisdiction they had to be consulted prior to any possible joint resolution so that the matter could be procedurally correct.
Mr E Lucas (IFP) asked if members of the board were exonerated if they had resigned.
Mr Marais asked that a joint meeting be organised to resolve the matter.
Ms Phumelele Ngema said even ex board members could be called to testify.
Ms Bikani said that the follow up meeting should include Alexkor Pty Ltd and the Department of Public Enterprises and members of the Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.