Cape Town - ANC leader in the Western Cape Marius Fransman says his party will fight tooth and nail against any abuse of the legislature for party political interest by the DA.
Fransman and his party’s chief whip in the provincial legislature, Pierre Uys, approached the Western Cape High Court on Friday to set aside a decision by the Western Cape’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on April 23, refusing their request for a postponement to respond to a list of questions it wanted them to address.
In his founding affidavits, Fransman said he was seeking appropriate declaratory relief that would regulate the re-introduction of the relevant hearings by the newly constituted Scopa.
The application effectively puts on hold any Scopa decision regarding the possible prosecution of the pair, who refused to take an oath and testify before a Scopa hearing in April.
Clarifying his court bid, Fransman said it had become apparent that the DA was using the legislature to carry-out a political witch-hunt.
“They’ve compromised the very essence of what Scopa is supposed to do in terms of fair process,” he said.
Fransman said the fact that Scopa was considering going ahead with possible disciplinary and criminal charges against them, clearly showed bias.
“We’ve got every intention to go to a Scopa hearing, but in the framework of a fair process and in a framework where we will be able to get the detailed questions and access to all the information the committee wants to know,” he said.
Tackling Premier Helen Zille’s role in the affair, Fransman said the premier had seen it fit to make threatening remarks against him during her State of the Province address.
Fransman said it was quite obvious that Zille and her government were intent on using the Scopa hearings to continue harassing him to score political points.
“It is highly irregular for the provincial executive to interfere so blatantly in the affairs of the legislature,” his affidavits read.
The stage has been set for an explosive Scopa meeting on Wednesday, with Scopa’s ACDP chairman Ferlon Christian saying the ANC leader was “jumping the gun”.
Stressing that no decision had been made yet by the committee regarding Fransman and Uys, Christian said Fransman must first wait for the committee to debate and decide on the matter.
Denying claims of political interference, DA leader Ivan Meyer said Fransman was using delaying tactics and that the court application looked more like an attempt to escape answering questions.
The DA’s Mark Wiley questioned whether Fransman was saying that Parliament must not investigate matters reported by the auditor general or that the constitution was wrong, and that Parliament had no role in oversight.