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Cape Town - ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman has accused “certain racist lobby groups” of using the media to discredit the organisation that has helped 18-year-old double amputee Flippie Engelbrecht with mechanical hands and his two court cases.
He said on Sunday that these groups were trying to “dig dirt on” The Freedom Trust and its secretary, Carina Papenfus.
Fransman wrote on the Facebook page of the trust that they were trying to break Papenfus because she came from a white community, but had decided to work for a non-racial society where especially farmworkers and their children were treated fairly.
This follows a Cape Times report on Friday that raised questions about how Engelbrecht went blind and when he sustained his subsequent injuries.
While Papenfus claimed Engelbrecht was assaulted by Johnny Burger and Wilhelm Treurnicht on January 25, 2008, and had an “emergency operation” three days later that left him blind, hospital documents show that he was treated at Tygerberg Hospital in August 2009 for a suspected brain abscess.
Burger died in an apparent suicide last week.
Fransman pledged his support to Papenfus and said like Nosey Pieterse, a leader in the farm strikes earlier this year, she too had to stand up against “white extremism, racism, fascism and narrow stupidity”. The trust’s four leaders are ANC members.
ANC provincial deputy secretary Maurencia Gillion and Sanette Smit serve on the party’s provincial executive committee, while Cathy Booysen-Nefdt and Papenfus are members. Gillion said they created the trust, but it wasn’t an ANC organisation.
She is the trust’s chairwoman and a councillor in the Overstrand Municipality. The trust is a registered non-profit organisation.
Smit, the trust’s deputy treasurer, is a councillor in Berg River and was the mayor of the municipality before she resigned in 2006.
Trust treasurer Booysen-Nefdt has also been an ANC councillor but joined the DA in 2011 as councillor in the Theewaterskloof Municipality before rejoining the ANC.
Papenfus said she joined the ANC in the 1990s but never held a leadership position.
She said it wasn’t strange that all four leaders of the trust were ANC members.
“This is what ANC members do; before we are a political party, we help people,” she said.
Papenfus, previously a lawyer, confirmed to the Cape Times that she was struck from the roll in 2010.
She said this related to complaints laid at the Law Society by creditors of a property deal she was involved with.
The trust had called for donations of up to R100 000 on its website to help Engelbrecht, but Papenfus said they had scrapped this from the website and all donations were now dealt with by Engelbrecht’s lawyers, Smit Tabata Buchanan Boyes.
“Everyone was saying we must be making money off Flippie, and that is why we decided we would not be dealing with the money,” she said.