Ram­phele aban­dons debt

Ex-agang leader promised to cash in shares to pay off R10m debt, but re­neged. Now ser­vice providers and Agang staff are in dire straits

CityPress - - News - CAIPHUS KGOSANA caiphus.kgosana@city­press.co.za

For­mer Agang leader Mam­phela Ram­phele al­legedly moved to cash in shares worth R10 mil­lion to pay Agang debts and staff salaries, but later re­neged, say­ing she needed to pro­tect her as­sets.

Ram­phele left the party with a trail of debts to­talling mil­lions, and now an­gry sup­pli­ers are tak­ing her and the party to court to re­cover their money. Ram­phele, how­ever, de­nies be­ing per­son­ally li­able for Agang’s debts.

One of the sup­pli­ers, Tracy Tarry, whose firm Red Cherry Events Man­age­ments is owed R750 000, said she fa­cil­i­tated talks between Ram­phele and in­vestors who were in­ter­ested in buy­ing some of Ram­phele’s Medi­clinic shares. Her fam­ily holds shares worth R30 mil­lion in trust.

Tarry says the debt has ru­ined her. “I had to bor­row money from my home be­cause it’s killed me fi­nan­cially. She has put me in so much debt that all my re­sources have dried up. I have bor­rowed so much that ev­ery pos­si­ble place I can bor­row from has now turned me away. I can’t even pay school fees. She has de­stroyed peo­ple’s lives.”

Ram­phele lives in a Camps Bay home worth R10 mil­lion, as es­ti­mated by her­self in a pre-elec­tion dec­la­ra­tion of wealth.

Tarry has served Ram­phele and Agang with a fi­nal let­ter of de­mand and will go to court if she is not paid.

Tarry said Ram­phele and her son Hlumelo Biko de­manded more money when the shares sud­denly spiked. The in­vestors were un­will­ing to pay more.

Com­pa­nies that are owed by Agang in­clude those that printed posters, ban­ners and T-shirts; one that pro­vided se­cu­rity; and a UK-based firm that of­fered po­lit­i­cal ad­vice and strat­egy. They are owed about R10 mil­lion.

Cur­rent and for­mer staff mem­bers of Agang have not been paid in months, and are owed R1.7 mil­lion. They range from se­nior ex­ec­u­tives to ad­min­is­tra­tive staff.

For­mer Agang spokesper­son Thabo Leshilo said he was strug­gling to pay his bills and the last time he re­ceived a salary from Agang was in Novem­ber. Leshilo was fired just be­fore the elec­tions af­ter ques­tion­ing Ram­phele’s move to stand as the DA’s par­lia­men­tary leader.

“I can con­firm my De­cem­ber salary has still not been paid,” Leshilo said.

“For her to leave Agang the way she did, I see as a cyn­i­cal, to leave other peo­ple with her own debts. Her de­par­ture means she washes her hands of the debts of the party.”

A se­cu­rity com­pany that is owed al­most R1 mil­lion has also sent a fi­nal let­ter of de­mand. The owner, who asked not to be named, said they were giv­ing her and the party un­til the end of this month to pay up or face fur­ther le­gal ac­tion.

“We need the money. We have sent her a let­ter of de­mand. I have also emailed her to ask for a firm com­mit­ment,” said the ag­grieved sup­plier.

Con­tacted for com­ment, Ram­phele said: “I re­signed from Agang and I don’t owe money in my per­sonal ca­pac­ity. I have lost a lot of money in Agang. The monies that are ow­ing are monies owed by Agang. All po­lit­i­cal par­ties post elec­tions have huge debts. I have noth­ing to do with Agang.”

Agang in­sid­ers said donors, mostly South Africans liv­ing abroad, were at first en­thu­si­as­tic about fund­ing the project. But af­ter the failed at­tempt to merge with the DA, fund­ing started dry­ing up. That fi­asco also led to se­ri­ous un­hap­pi­ness in the party, and Ram­phele later quit.

She has put me in so much debt that all my re­sources have dried up ... She has de­stroyed peo­ple’s lives

TRACY TARRY

PHOTO: HER­MAN VERWEY

WAIV­ING LIAfILITY Mam­phela Ram­phele says all debt is Agang’s, not hers

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