Namec boxed in by in­fight­ing

CityPress - - Business - MAMELLO MASOTE mamello.masote@city­press.co.za

Con­fu­sion con­tin­ues to reign in the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ers in Elec­tronic Com­po­nents (Namec) as the fight over set-top boxes heats up.

A set-top box is an ap­pli­ance sim­i­lar to a pay TV de­coder and is used to con­vert the ana­logue TV sig­nal to dig­i­tal. South Africa is mov­ing to dig­i­tal and gov­ern­ment is sub­si­dis­ing 5 mil­lion set-top boxes for poorer house­holds, 50% of which are ring-fenced for black man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Namec, which lob­bied gov­ern­ment to bring black man­u­fac­tur­ers into the con­ver­sion process, is reel­ing as two fac­tions fight it out.

On one side is Adil Nch­a­baleng and Pro­fes­sor Kunene, who say they are sec­re­tary-gen­eral and deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral of Namec, re­spec­tively.

On the other side is Namec chair­man Keith Thabo, al­though Nch­a­baleng and Kunene say he has been sus­pended.

Kunene says they dis­cov­ered that Thabo and Namec mem­ber Vi­jay Pan­day were us­ing Namec’s name to get deals meant for its mem­bers. “There was a com­pany called Namec Manufacturing Ser­vices, which was sup­posed to be the com­pany where shares were is­sued to Namec mem­bers, Namec so­cial part­ners and other cor­po­rate part­ners. It would deal with the manufacturing of elec­tronic com­po­nents,” said Kunene.

But ac­cord­ing to him, they found out the com­pany did not ex­ist and in­stead Thabo reg­is­tered a com­pany called Namec Elec­tron­ics Manufacturing, which is jointly owned by Thabo and Pan­day.

A com­pany search con­ducted by City Press re­vealed a com­pany called Namec Elec­tronic Manufacturing was reg­is­tered in June last year, and the only di­rec­tors were Pan­day and Thabo.

But Thabo said Namec Elec­tronic Manufacturing was merely a com­pany cre­ated to fa­cil­i­tate a deal with “the Chi­nese” and sim­plify the or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture. They were act­ing on be­half of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, he said.

A sub­sidiary of Na­tional Elec­tronic Manufacturing is Namec Tech­nolo­gies, a joint ven­ture with Sky­worth Dig­i­tal, a Chi­nese set-top box manufacturing com­pany. Pan­day is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Namec Tech­nolo­gies.

Namec Tech­nolo­gies an­nounced in April it would launch manufacturing fa­cil­i­ties at Dube trade port in KwaZulu-Natal in a mul­ti­mil­lion-rand in­vest­ment deal. Namec Tech­nolo­gies would fork out R60 mil­lion to de­velop a site to ac­com­mo­date a manufacturing fa­cil­ity for the pro­duc­tion of set-top boxes and con­sumer elec­tronic prod­ucts.

A City Press com­pany search also showed that Thabo and Pan­day are the only di­rec­tors of Namec Tech­nolo­gies, which was reg­is­tered in Novem­ber.

Namec Elec­tronic Manufacturing re­cently signed a deal to man­u­fac­ture, dis­trib­ute, main­tain and pro­vide af­ter-ser­vice sup­port for about 4.7 mil­lion set-top boxes for Mul­tiChoice, but Nch­a­baleng and Kunene say that deal was meant for Namec as an or­gan­i­sa­tion and for all mem­bers to ben­e­fit.

Nch­a­baleng said: “Namec mem­bers were mis­led in the hopes that they would be ben­e­fi­cia­ries of this trans­ac­tion. They were given a phan­tom share­hold­ing struc­ture while the real own­er­ship was di­verted to th­ese two.”

But Thabo said this is not true and that the trans­ac­tion was sanc­tioned by Namec mem­bers at a con­sul­ta­tive meet­ing. He al­leged Kunene stole in­for­ma­tion from his email in­box and ma­nip­u­lated his emails.

Ac­cord­ing to him, for Namec it was busi­ness as usual and the or­gan­i­sa­tion was get­ting ready to man­u­fac­ture set-top boxes and con­tinue build­ing the fac­tory.

Thabo in­sisted that Kunene and Nch­a­baleng were no longer part of Namec, and that he was pur­su­ing le­gal ac­tion against them.

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