Claims I abused CR17 funds based on malice - Ntshavheni

The minister said she had publicly declared that she was part of a group of ANC leaders and members in Limpopo who had campaigned for Ramaphosa.

Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has reacted to allegations by former managers of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2017 African National Congress (ANC) presidential campaign that she used them to enrich herself from the millions raised, saying they were based on malice and devoid of the truth.

At the weekend, the Sunday Independent reported that the campaign managers alleged that Ntshavheni – who was the CR17 campaign coordinator in Limpopo – had used a portion of the more than R5 million she received to buy a luxury vehicle and build a mansion in Thohoyandou for her mother.

The minister, in a statement released through her office on Monday evening, said she had publicly declared that she was part of a group of ANC leaders and members in Limpopo who had campaigned for Ramaphosa to be party president at the December 2017 Nasrec conference.

“The accusations that Minister Ntshavheni used the campaign funds for personal benefit are laughable at best and shows the lazy journalism that has become a norm with the mainstream media. This projects the media that lacks the basics of fact-checking but its reporting is mere rumour-mongering,” said her spokesperson Priscilla Monama.

Ntshavheni said the mansion reported by the publication was a family home since 2010 and there had not been any construction. She said a deed-search of her and her mother's names would have shown all properties owned by them and the years they were acquired.

“If the deed-search was too sophisticated a search tool for the media, a mere random enquiry with the neighbours would have also shed light on the property. The so-called mansion in Thohoyandou has been a family home since 2010 and there has not been any new development on the ‘mansion’ since then except for a lick of paint.

“A similar search of vehicle ownership would have shown all vehicles owned by the minister and her mother including that no new vehicle was purchased and all vehicles were paid off by 2016.”

Ntshavheni maintained that there was nothing untoward about how the campaign was run and its funding.

“It is common knowledge that branches had to hold delegate nominating Branch General Meetings and therefore needed to be assisted with airtime, petrol and at times food, such assistance was disbursed through regional, sub-regional and cluster coordinators,” the statement added.

On allegations reported by the _Sunday Independent _that Ntshavheni was building another mansion for her alleged lover Risimati Hlongwane, the former CR17 regional coordinator in Vhembe, she said the reported was spurious and demeaning.

She also said the report reflected the level of gutter journalism that was influenced by patriarchy, sexism, ageism, and tribalism.

“What is more demeaning is the fact that 63 years after the historic women's march, patriarchy refuses to acknowledge the role of women leaders in their own right devoid of sexual favours to men, the Madonna/Whore Complex where women’s sexuality is always and only in service to men cannot be allowed to carry in this day and age. In the month meant to celebrate women of our country, the media and society still find it appropriate to attack, vilify and undermine a woman on the basis of unfounded rumours.”