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A proper 'explanation' is needed to avoid the possible deregistration of the Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa), the labour department said yesterday.
"We are in the process of investigating them," said labour relations registrar Johan Crouse.
This comes after the union's leadership could not explain the alleged mismanagement of millions of rands from union coffers.
Crouse said he first noticed that money was not being spent properly following audited financial statements from 2003 to 2004.
He said the union could not give a sound explanation of how funds had been used.
"The explanation given was not satisfactory. I'm still pressing hard to get answers. It is in the interest of the [union] members to do so."
Union funds were allegedly pocketed by union leaders who owned private companies.
Crouse added that financial statements for 2004 and last year were still outstanding. The union had written to him last week.
"They have appointed an internal commission. I want an external commission to give an independent report. We would like some intervention from outside," he said.
"It is not our intention to cancel their registration. We want to exhaust all avenues not to deregister it. We want rather to find a solution than just to cancel the union."
According to Crouse, there had not been sufficient interaction between the union and its members as to how money was being spent.
If an explanation was not forthcoming, the next step to be taken was publication of intention to cancel the union. The notice would be published in the Government Gazette.
"They then would have 60 days to show proof otherwise," said Crouse.
He added that the union also wanted to amend its constitution to extend the term of office for current office bearers.
"I refused. They must elect a new committee," Crouse said. Hospersa's Johan Steyn could not be reached for comment. - Sapa