'Everyone was there to grab. I could have taken too. But God gave me a heart. The funds were never used for projects. There was no governance.'
Bathabile Dlamini, the president of the ANC Women's League (ANCWL), has acknowledged its social development arm, the Malibongwe Women's Development Organisation (MWDO), has fallen apart and R50-million of an estimated R211-million in dividends the organisation received from just one BEE deal is missing.
Dlamini's admission follows an investigation into the failure of Malibongwe's projects across South Africa as a result of a lack of funds, ruining women's dreams of improving their lives, especially in poverty-stricken areas.
The ANCWL had promised it would use the dividends, received from a 2005 BEE deal with Anglo-American, to support small-scale women-controlled projects to ensure they grow into successful businesses. But its projects, in Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, Western Cape and Eastern Cape, have failed and no successful Malibongwe projects could be identified.
In Gauteng, Malibongwe projects in Vlakfontein that ended "in shambles", according to former provincial Malibongwe co-ordinator Maria Madumise, included a brickmaking plant that had once employed 10 women, a vegetable garden and a crèche. She said Malibongwe had initially funded technical support and training, but...