Cape Town – The African National Congress (ANC) has denied claims, which surfaced in a high-profile court case involving a senior policeman, that it planned to sell drugs to fund its 1999 elections campaign.
“These false claims were contained in a statement by a former member of an elite investigating unit in the Western Cape High Court,” it said in a statement on Thursday.
The claim surfaced on May 3.
The statement said the mention of former President Nelson Mandela’s name in it was “more disgracing”.
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“We would like to state categorically that the ANC’s main source of funding, for its day to day work and of any campaigns, has been and will always be from its membership fees and from donors,” it said.
“We believe these false claims are, therefore, orchestrated to damage the good name of the late President Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress.”
The ANC said it was “regrettable and unfortunate” that News24 published the story without comment from the party.
However, the information surfaced in court as testimony in a case in which a number of other claims have surfaced.
The matter is still being heard in court.
Therefore more witnesses are to be called.
News24 did not wish to affect the court matter as it is yet to be concluded.
‘Inappropriate to comment’
Previously a claim against the State Security Agency head had surfaced in the case and News24 had approached the agency for comment on this.
The agency had said it was inappropriate to comment during an ongoing court case.
With regards to the ANC, the allegation of the plan to sell drugs was contained in a statement made by a former member of an elite investigative unit set up by Mandela.
The member said another ex-member of the unit, Abraham Smith, had made the claims.
“He asked me if I knew why [an informant] was being pushed to infiltrate the drug scene so fast.
“I did not answer him, but he informed me that the reason was the fact that the African National Congress was in financial difficulty and that they required money urgently for the 1996 elections,” the statement said.
The member who made the statement said she understood this to mean that the informant was going to sell drugs “to get finances for the ANC”.
Her statement, made two decades ago, was read out in court in a civil trial brought on by Major-General Andre Lincoln.
In 1996, Mandela had appointed Lincoln to head up a special presidential investigative task unit, which would operate separately from the police and report to Mandela, former deputy president Thabo Mbeki and then minister of safety and security Sydney Mufamadi.
Lincoln was tasked with, among other matters, investigating mafioso Vito Palazzolo and his links to government officials, police and businessmen.
He was previously arrested when criminal allegations against him and others in the presidential investigative unit then surfaced.
Lincoln is now claiming R15m in damages from the minister of safety and security (now the minister of police) for alleged malicious prosecution.
The trial is set to resume on Monday.