Fransman lost millions, claims Zille

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman File picture: Brenton Geach

Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says millions of rands were spent under then-MEC Marius Fransman for functions and campaigns that did not take place.

Zille also told the provincial legislature that based on supporting documents in an auditor-general’s report, Fransman “personally instructed officials to award” contracts while he was MEC for transport and public works between 2005 and 2009.

Fransman, now leader of the ANC in the province and legislature, rejected the allegations as “hogwash”.

Zille “was abusing state resources to attack her political opponents”.

In February, an auditor-general’s report found R10 billion had been spent on consultants between 2005 and 2011 by the province – initially under the ANC and then under the DA administration.

The two parties had accused each other of having been responsible for this exorbitant expenditure.

Zille made the allegations against Fransman this week, during the debate on her State of the Province address.

Listing a number of payments detailed in supporting documents provided with the auditor-general’s report, she said Fransman’s department had paid:

* R88 633 for “a function that was never held”.

* R622 000 for “an interfaith function that never took place”.

* R1.3 million for “a campaign my officials could not verify existed”.

* R4.1m for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations, expenditure for which Zille said there was no proof.

“We have not seen any proof, nor have we been able to unearth any proof that the money was actually spent on these celebrations.”

Zille said Fransman should say why he had not done anything about the irregular and exorbitant consultant fees charged under his watch.

“Was (he) aware of corruption in his department? Did he personally benefit as a result of this corruption?”

Zille said Fransman should subject himself to a “family lifestyle audit” and give “evidence to clear his name”.

She had “a lot of evidence” about the so-called Brown Envelope scandal, she said.

The scandal involved payments being made to journalists by then-premier Ebrahim Rasool to further his political agenda.

“That was used and done with taxpayers’ money. If that is not corruption, I do not know what is,” Zille said.

She added that during Fransman’s watch, the department had paid R60m for the training of 700 young people in the Learnership 1 000 programme. But the participants of the programme, aimed at providing unemployed youth with skills training, had not received any form of accreditation, she said.

Fransman said Zille had abused her legislature privilege to “demonise” ANC leaders in the province.

“I was never involved with procurement. The only rebuttal Zille had (to criticism) was deflection and to embroil the leader of the opposition in serious allegations.”

Fransman said he could not remember in detail what happened seven years ago and he could give only a limited response. “It was an attack on my integrity,” Fransman said.

The DA government should explain why the pupils had not received their certificates. “Why did the DA stop it?”

He was willing to agree to a family lifestyle audit, but only if all past MECs and City of Cape Town mayoral committee members of the past five years agreed to undergo a similar audit, Fransman said.

He said if he had to account to public accounts watchdog Scopa, Zille should also be called before the committee to explain expenditure on the Cape Town Stadium, the expansion of the CTICC, and the awarding of a controversial communications contract.

In 2012, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found there had been maladministration and wasteful expenditure by Zille’s department in the awarding of a contract for between R50m and R70m in 2010, but that there had been nothing unlawful.

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Cape Times


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