The largely Afrikaner teachers’ union, the Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwyser Unie (SAOU), has been rocked by allegations of fraud, corruption and money laundering involving its top leadership.
In police statements to the Hawks seen by The Citizen, concerned members allege there is an elaborate scheme to fleece the union via dubious entities.
These are Financial Services of South Africa (Finsa), TO Onderlinge Maatskappy (Pty) Ltd (Toom) and the South African Education Foundation (SAEF), of which the union’s top executives are alleged to be the directors.
The members claimed that union funds were being channelled to these entities in the form of loans, rent and management fees.
In one of the statements, a member questioned loans totalling more than R49.8 million allegedly paid from SAEF to Toom and Finsa.
“I want to know where SAEF got the money from and what happened to the money after it was paid over to Finsa and TO Strand (a subsidiary of Toom)?
“Members have never been informed of the amounts or what the funds are being used for,” the member stated under oath.
Also of concern to members was that the union was renting offices in Garsfontein, Pretoria, from SAEF, although the building originally belonged to the Transvaalse Onderwyvereniging, which later became SAOU.
The member, who requested anonymity, also said SAOU was paying management fees to SAEF management.
He added that it had been revealed that the SAEF management was also the leadership of SAOU.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu confirmed that the unit was investigating SAOU for alleged fraud, corruption, and contravention of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act.
“We cannot at this stage mention who the suspect is since no one has been charged.
“The investigation is at an advanced stage,” she said.
Louw Erasmus, SAOU’s lawyer, said they were not aware of any Hawks’ investigation.
“I confirm that no inquiry was made to any person connected to the SAOU by the Hawks or any other police department,” he said.