R41m for chamber from Nafhold

THE rift between Nafcoc and its investment arm Nafhold has worsened over the years.

Sowetan spoke to Michael Leaf, who has been Nafhold's chief executive for over a decade.

Ousted Nafcoc president Buhle Mthethwa's faction has accused Nafhold of sponsoring "the illegal appointment" of the new leadership.

Mthethwa was replaced by Lawrence Mavundla last month.

Leaf said that all Nafhold ever wanted was to establish a Nafcoc wing which could generate money for the body.

According to Leaf, this has been achieved.

"We recently gave R21million to the organisation and R20million to Nafcoc's head office in Rivonia, Johannesburg," Leaf said.

Nafcoc's head office used the money for rent, conferences and other expenses.

Leaf said the strategic process was started in 1993 by himself, Joe Hlongwane, Patrice Motsepe, Cyprian Lekoma and Mashudu Ramano.

But Leaf went to work for Deloitte and Touche as a manager at the New South Africa Group.

"When Hlongwane saw that Nafhold was not doing well he called me to come back as chief executive in 1998," said Leaf.

"At that time the company had no money, staff and even office space," he said.

"All the founding members committed their own money for Nafhold to take off the ground."

The sacrifices paid off. Nafhold was part of a consortium which formed Uthingo, the first national lottery operator in 1999.

Nafhold was also part of a consortium which won casino licences for Tsogo Sun Hotels.

"Our focus was on short-term returns and it worked," Leaf said.

"In 2001 the executives decided to sell a 4percent share to the members who were the original funders of Nafhold," he said.

A year later, a new Nafcoc executive was elected and there were squabbles between Nafhold and the new leadership.

"We resolved our differences and Nafhold decided to go back to its original plan of empowering Nafcoc members," Leaf said.

In 2004 Nafhold offered shares to trusts which represented Nafcoc members at branch levels.

That process went smoothly.

"In 2007 we felt that we needed to give shares to individual members of Nafcoc," he said.

"In this process Nafcoc was a beneficiary."

Nafhold developed criteria allowing stalwarts and paid-up members to qualify for the shares.

But Nafhold was stunned by the lists submitted by branches.

"Stalwarts were not on the lists and some people on the lists did not pay their fees," Leaf said.

"We informed Nafcoc members that we were not happy with their lists and squabbles began.

"But these were resolved in August and the shares distribution started in September," he said.