Speaker joins court battle over FransmanComment on this story
Cape Town - The Speaker of the Western Cape provincial parliament, Sharna Fernandez, has weighed in on the High Court conflict with provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman.
Fernandez and the provincial legislature’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) have been listed as respondents in Fransman’s Western Cape High Court application.
At issue is Scopa’s demand that Fransman and former ANC chief whip Pierre Uys attend a meeting of the committee on April 23 to answer questions. Fransman asked for a postponement of the meeting, and when Scopa refused that, he approached the High Court.
The questions Fransman and Uys face are in connection with billions of rand spent by the previous ANC provincial government on consultants, when both men were MECs in the Western Cape legislature almost a decade ago.
In a letter sent on Tuesday, Fernandez informed Scopa of her intention to oppose Fransman’s motion and concurred that an attorney of record be appointed to represent both Scopa and herself in the matter.
Reporting back to the committee who mandated him to approach the speaker, Scopa’s ACDP chairman Ferlon Christian on Wednesday told the committee of the speaker’s intention to oppose the application.
Reading from the internal responses he received from the speaker’s office, Christian said the speaker would also engage with the state attorney as to the legal basis of the state attorney representing Fransman in his high court bid.
“Depending on the outcome of that engagement further action, if deemed necessary, will be decided on.”
On April 23 the watchdog on public accounts decided to take disciplinary action and lay possible criminal charges against the ANC pair, who refused their request to take an oath after being summoned to testify.
While the pending court case effectively prevents Scopa from discussing the merits of the case and taking any decisions regarding Fransman and Uys, members did resolve to oppose the court action and mandated the chairman to consult the speaker to get the same legal representation for both parties.