12 June 2014

South Africa: Conflicting Claims About Charge Against Ramphele

Johannesburg — There were conflicting claims by Agang SA members on Thursday over whether criminal charges had been laid against its leader Mamphela Ramphele.

Party spokesman Mark Peach told Sapa no charge had been laid against Ramphele, while another Agang SA spokesman Donald Tontsi told eNCA that fraud charges were laid.

"I have just spoken to Mike Tshishonga [Agang SA chairman]... and no criminal charges have been laid against Dr Ramphele, and certainly not by him," Peach told Sapa.

He rubbished claims by The New Age that Tshishonga opened a fraud case against Ramphele at the Centurion police station in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The newspaper reported that Tshishonga accused Ramphele of having direct access to party funds, and that she opened a bank account to access deposits from the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) without a mandate from the party.

Peach dismissed this allegation.

"There is some confusion over the process whereby party officials have opened an account to receive refunds from the IEC and it has to be noted that the signatory to the account is Mike Tshishonga," said Peach.

"So how is it possible that Mike would allegedly do this when he himself is a signatory to the account?"

However, Tontsi told eNCA: "We have opened a fraud charge against the president of the party because we are aware she wanted to squander the money..."

He told the broadcaster the party was in debt and owed R13 million to service providers.

A vote of no confidence had been taken against Ramphele.

"We are saying Mamphele must step down until all of these issues have been cleared up."

Centurion police spokesman Warrant Officer Hero Gumbu said he could not comment.

"I cannot comment on that one. It is a very serious high-profile case," he said.

Gauteng police spokesman Lt-Col Lungelo Dlamini said he would comment soon.

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