Mangaliso Ngema's dairy dream soured by NEF lawsuit

Mangaliso Yul Ngema
Mangaliso Yul Ngema

Former Generations and Ring of Lies actor Mangaliso Yul Ngema is embroiled in a dramatic R8.3m lawsuit filed against him and his business partners by the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) for a failed dairy farm project.

The actor-turned-businessman and six others were slapped with court papers by the NEF this week after they allegedly failed to make repayments for their debts.

The fund filed papers in the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg against a company called Business Venture Investments 1430, trading as Ntusi Dairy, owned by the Ngema Family Trust made up of Mangaliso, Robson and Shaka Ngema as well as the Kwangema Community Trust run by Langa Mhlambi, Busisiwe Mbatha, Ntombikayise Simelane and Bongani Mchunu.

The company is cited as the first respondent while Ngema is the second. Ngema, however, sang a different tune, accusing the fund of running its affairs like a spaza shop.

He confirmed knowledge of the court application by the NEF but said it came as a result of his complaints about the fund's conduct, which he posted on Facebook out of anger.

"This is their strategy to gag me from exposing them. Those guys are running a national institution like their spaza shop.

"I'm going to deal with them my own way. I will tell my story when the time is right."

"They shut down our dairy farm operations after imposing consultants on us. Those consultants dumped us immediately the money was finished and we were left with R6m extra funding needed for the infrastructure. We are going to defend the application. Their claims against us are just malicious and untrue," he said.

Ngema told Sunday World he took the NEF to court last year after it had reneged on its promises to fund their projects.

He said the NEF survived his court application on technicalities, saying that the merits of his application were never heard. "I'm going to deal with them my own way. I will tell my story when the time is right."

In its papers, the NEF claims Ngema and his company terminated the business mentorship programme instituted by the fund to help his business and as a result, it failed.

It also claimed it was taking legal action after Ngema and other directors confirmed in writing that the dairy business was in financial trouble and was facing closure. "Creditors other than the plaintiff have commenced legal proceedings against it," read the papers.

According to the NEF, Business Venture Investments secured three separate loans between 2011 and 2015. The first loan in 2011 was just under R5m. The company then got another loan of R2m in 2013 with a further R1.3m in 2015.

NEF spokesperson Moemise Motsepe said Ngema "was often unscrupulous in managing business funds, in the process destroying existing and potential value in a business that could have become a model of success. Mr Ngema must take full responsibility for the operational challenges and entrepreneurial misadventures he subjected the business to"

Motsepe said the NEF was hands-on because it owned 30% of the shares in the business.