Cape Coloured Congress fight

Cape Coloured Congress president, Fadiel Adams, faces allegations of transgressing the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

The gloves have come off as Cape Coloured Congress (CCC) president, Fadiel Adams, responds to a criminal charge brought against him by a fellow party member.

This comes less than two weeks after the Westridge resident took his seat in sub-council as a Mitchell’s Plain proportional representation (PR) councillor and 100 days into being a member of the City of Cape Town.

Mr Adams is being accused of transgressing the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), intimidation and threatening the life of a CCC member, who refused to be named and feared tarnishing the brand of the political party.

According to police the aggrieved member saw a “degrading status posted by the party leader”.

The social media post negatively affected the member’s personal status and was taken as slander, contravening POPIA.

Kensington police station is investigating a case of intimidation and a case of fraud was transferred to Maitland police station last week.

No one has been arrested as both cases are being investigated.

The charge was laid the day before a meeting was held in Maitland, where members attempted to table a vote of no confidence in Mr Adams.

Today, Wednesday March 2, five of the aggrieved members and five leaders of the party will meet in Manenberg to discuss grievances listed in an open letter dated Friday February 25.

It was sent to members of CCC, stating that Mr Adams did not inform members of the proposed agenda for the meeting held days earlier.

“We concerned members of the CCC, wish to bring the following matters to your attention, matters which would have been formally tabled in the meeting.

“In relation to the meeting itself, firstly, why select a venue that was patently (blatantly) too small,“ read the letter.

It accuses the leadership of conducting business contrary to its political party constitution.

According to this letter the “top tier of the party must consist of no less than seven members” and that “no binding decisions” could be made without fulfilling this basic requirement.

This follows the resignation of the national treasurer, a post which was never filled and had left the party leadership unable to account financially to members, read the letter.

The aggrieved party members say that an annual general meeting, where the audited financial statement would be presented, was not yet held which should have happened 15 months after the adoption of the constitution.

It states that the party does not have a national disciplinary committee to hold national leaders to account in respect of allegations and or grievances.

“Our allegations should be submitted to such a structure, however, since this structure does not exist, the Northern Suburbs region submits the allegations in the absence of this structure,” read the letter.

These grievances relate to comments made on WhatsApp, which according to them have brought the name of the party into disrepute.

The said person’s membership was revoked and was not afforded 14 days notice as per the constitution.

The open letters also questions the position of secretary general (SG) held by Sakeena Frenchman, from Portland, which is “in fact in violation of the constitution”.

Also that the status of the national advisor was revoked in a meeting in an announcement in a regional meeting without notification.

They further accuse another Mitchell’s Plain CCC PR councillor of being dishonest by previously stating that he would donate his salary to the party.

“He has only paid his monthly deduction since end November,” read the letter.

It also further states that Mr Adams uses “foul and abusive language on Facebook… WhatsApp as well. Threatening, intimidating, coercing members. We played a number of voice notes in the meeting to indicate the modus operandi of the president discrimination, victimization, and intimidation again”.

These members say that all of the councillors signed a contract and are in breach, except for the Saldanha Bay Municipality.

That CCC T-shirts were sold at a profit with the president’s permission but that funds are not reflected in the party’s bank account.

“Members who at any stage raise the question of party finances who (were) literally told to shut up… the fact is that any registered entity must account for income received and expenses. There must be a paper trail from slips to invoices and quotations.

“With only the SG (secretary general) and president at one stage, what does this say about transparency and accountability within our party.”

The letter concludes by saying that “matters raised are serious and have consequences for the CCC”.

They will now have a meeting of five aggrieved members and an equal number of those siding with Mr Adams.

An aggrieved member told the Plainsman that they would be sitting down with legal counsel and meet with Mr Adams on Wednesday March 2.

Mr Adams told the Plainsman that he would gladly face these members in court.

“Those who made these charges. I will deal with them within the law,” he said.

He said a vote of no confidence could not be brought against him with a bakkie-load of drunk people – “no knowledge of how politics work”.

Ms Frenchman said that while the party successfully achieved seven seats in the metro they were all novices.

“This whole thing is about money and position,” she said.

Mr Adams said he was asked for money from five to six people daily.

“Ek is skaam… Every day I give because I feel shit because I’m earning and you’re not,” he said.

“I am more than happy to stand down if the right person is there (to take over)…

“I’m tired of being ashamed of the money that I earn,” he said.

Mr Adams said he had brought nothing but money into the party.

Prior to the elections he closed his business, sold his house, car and was left homeless by his family who begged him to “leave the fight for coloured people”.

Mr Adams said that he had several loan agreements that he had to settle following the local government elections in November last year.

He had had to feed hundreds of volunteers on election day and several of the members accusing him of mismanaging funds had asked him for financial help.

Ms Frenchman said a year before the elections it was decided that their top five members, who were strong individuals would take positions in council, when the party won seats.

“The top people would be untouchable. We needed strong people within council. Analytical people, who had put in the work.

“We wanted people who can shake the foundations of council,” said Ms Frenchman.

Both Ms Frenchman and Mr Adams said the allegations were being made by people who lacked commitment and were not active during the local government elections.

“This is sour grapes. The grapes have fermented and you can actually make wine out of it now,” said Mr Adams.

He said members in the Southern Suburbs and Mitchell’s Plain had put in the work and have been placed in the municipality to work. He said the Northern Suburbs branch comprised of a member, his wife and their son.

Ms Frenchman said she would hold Mr Adams accountable for any wrongdoing or mismanagement of party funds and misconduct.

They said these claims were being made in voice notes and were unsubstantiated.

“They ask why is the president using party money for petrol when he receives a petrol allowance from council. These people can’t distinguish between my duties as a councillor and my activities as a party leader,” said Mr Adams.

“When I leave my home to go to the civic, I log it 66km. I may have a CCC meeting in Kraaifontein; I cannot claim that from the council. I cannot use council resources for my campaign,” he said.

Ms Frenchman said she would rather be working on municipal issues than be stuck fighting members.

She said they will be hosting a series of workshops to upskill members and help them better understand politics.

“They think there is money. The only money in the account is the 20 percent of each of the councillors, which had been agreed upon prior to the elections,” she said.

Mr Adams said: “These people who cannot read bank statements and have not asked us about transactions have not brought a single cent into the party.”

He said these members were dead wood, which needed to be trimmed anyway.

Ms Frenchman said they have read through their constitution again and have made notes to answer members at the meeting.