JOHANNESBURG – Danisa Baloyi, the president of Black Business Council (BBC) has been suspended pending an investigation into a missing R5 million donation from the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA).
The latest fraud and theft allegations against Baloyi come at a time when the BBC has been actively involved in lobbying government to increase funding for Small and Medium enterprises and the Black Industrialist Programme.
At a media briefing in Johannesburg, it was announced that Kganki Matabane would step in as acting CEO, effective immediately.
The organisation’s secretary general, George Sebula said the decision was taken at the BBC National Council Meeting held last week.
“We have requested her to refrain from any activity of the organisation in the name of the BBC until the matter has been resolved,” he said.
He refuted allegations that the BBC was in financial distress and that the appointment of Matabane as CEO would serve to strengthen the organisation and assist it in reaching some its strategic objectives.
“Our organisation has capable leadership…There is prima facie evidence that Baloyi is implicated in the missing R5 million. Baloyi will have an opportunity to testify. She is innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
The latest scandal has raised questions on BBC’s dealings with its donors. As a lobby group and voice of black business in SA, the BBC is heavily reliant on donors, grants and membership fees for it to reach its strategic objectives.
The latest scandal may serve as a blow for an organisation which is constantly pitted against the gains of the Business Unity South Africa.
Zitha Dube, a former acting CEO of BBC said his main concern was that there could be other similar transactions that may have gone unnoticed.
“If something like this comes out into the spotlight at such a critical time in our economy for black business in South Africa, it makes you think about how many other grants or donations were dealt with in a similar fashion. The latest scandal cannot be good for the council and the new president will have his work cut out for him. The organisation will now have to put in a greater effort to remove the stain of the current scandal,” he said.
However, he hailed the decision from the current leadership as decisive and a step in the right direction.
According to a statement released by ACSA, the donation had been brokered by Baloyi herself. The organisation claimed that her office instructed that the money be paid to Merit Energy, an intermediary. ACSA has since laid criminal charges against Baloyi for fraud. The BBC has also laid criminal charges against Merit Energy, with the BBC labelling the nature of the charges as theft and fraud.
Last week, it was reported in the media that the funds had gone missing and fundraiser Dominic Ntsele and Merit Energy were both linked to the missing millions.
ACSA’s statement added that it had received a “formal written request by the BBC president to the chief executive of Airports Company dated March 2017.”
Baloyi has served on numerous boards in both the public and private sectors, such as ABSA bank, African Merchant bank, The Don Hotels, National Skills Authority, Enterprise Risk Management, Denel, Institute of Directors, South African Tourism as well as the BBC.