DA: Statement by Kobus Marais, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of economic development, calling on Deputy Minister Godongwana to explain himself to Parliament (04/10/2011)

4th October 2011

It was reported today that Economic Development Deputy Minister, Enoch Godongwana, has a stake in a company that “lost” R100 million of textile workers’ pension money. He testified last week in an ongoing liquidation inquiry into the company, Canyon Springs Investments. The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes that, in addition to testifying at the closed inquiry, the Deputy Minister also needs to come to Parliament and explain exactly what happened and why his company chose to invest the workers’ money in the way it did. I will therefore write to the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Economic Development to request that Deputy Minister Godongwana be called before the committee to explain himself.

The fact that the pensions of between 15 000 and 20 000 workers were squandered is scandalous in itself. Even more disturbing is that large sums of money were reportedly “invested” in businesses with connections to various ANC politicians such as Free State Premier Ace Magashule and Deputy Minister Godongwana himself. That money has now gone missing.

On the face of it, we can infer the following:

That Deputy Minister Godongwana benefited from the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU’s) provident fund investments into a company he and his wife have shares in (Canyon Springs Investments).
That Deputy Minister Godongwana, a director of Canyon Springs Investments along with his wife, was aware that money from the company was being reinvested into businesses connected to various ANC politicians.
That Deputy Minister Godongwana benefited from the reinvestment of funds from Canyon Springs Investments into businesses owned by the Deputy Minister and his wife. This constitutes a clear conflict of interest.
That throughout this process someone defrauded Canyon Springs Investments, and by extension the SACTWU provident fund, of roughly R100 million.

The Deputy Minister needs to come to Parliament and account to the people for his actions. The DA will not let this matter rest until justice is done.