Friday, September 16, 2011


Mail and Guardian, South Africa

16 September 2011


Unions court Swazi king's business

A number of Cosatu trade unions are business partners of Swaziland's monarch, Mswati III, despite the union federation's strident campaign against the king's dictatorial rule and criticism of South Africa's offer of a R2.4-billion loan to the cash-strapped country.

The Mail & Guardian can reveal that Cosatu's health affiliate, Nehawu, and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have joint interests in a number of Swazi businesses with Mswati through his personal investment arm, Tibiyo Taka Ngwane.

The Mail & Guardian recently reported that the Nehawu Investment Company was involved in a consortium with ANC investment vehicle Chancellor House to buy Swaziland's Maloma Colliery Mine from Xstrata in May last year.

The Nehawu Investment Company is understood to hold 36% of shares in the mine and Tibiyo has 25%.

An internal document acquired by the M&G showed that the investment company played the role of financial broker and led negotiations with banks, creditors and other investors.

Its former chief executive, Sello Mkhondo, who resigned last year, served as a director of the company used as the vehicle for the purchase.

Also a director was Sibusisiwe Mngomezulu, who is a former director of Tibiyo-owned Tibiyo Insurance Brokers, the brother of Mswati's senior wife and a "business development executive" employed by Chancellor House.

In response to questions, Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini said the federation did not have a formal process to vet the business dealings of unions' investment companies.

To read the full Mail & Guardian report, click here.

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