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Cape Town - The provincial Public Works Ministry has accused Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman of lying about property ownership in the city.
Fransman, who is also Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, was last week reported as saying ethnic division in Cape Town was a “reality” if one studied property and land ownership.
“The reality is… 98 percent… of the land owners and property owners actually is the white community and, in particular, also people in the Jewish community,” he told the Cape Town Press Club.
“That is not an ethnic mobilisation, that is the reality. The question is: how do we move from that to make sure we get shared ownership?” he was quoted as saying.
But Robin Carlisle, MEC of Transport and Public Works, said Fransman knew his claims were untrue, because Fransman himself was a previous public works MEC.
“He subsequently amended this to say that 95 percent to 98 percent of all properties the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town were renting in Cape Town were in the hands of private property owners.
“In explaining how he arrived at this figure, he is quoted as saying that the figures were based on ‘the ownership profile of the people and companies that rented buildings to the province and the city in Cape Town’s CBD’.”
Carlisle charged that Fransman’s explanation was untrue, arguing: “Not only are these statements 100 percent wrong, but Mr Fransman knows they are wrong, as he either signed and/or dealt with most of the leases himself.”
Carlisle explained that the biggest five leases, which made up 49.04 percent of total office space leased by the provincial government in the province, “do not fit the claims he makes”. These were:
* Protea Assurance Building, owned by Oasis, a black-owned entity which is also Sharia compliant.
* Waldorf Building, privately owned by Moosa Baba of Cameroon.
* 35 Wale Street, owned by the Government Employee Pension Fund.
* Golden Acre, owned by Growthpoint Properties, a JSE-listed company;
* Grand Central Building, owned by Ascension Properties, a black-managed and substantially black-owned JSE-listed company.
Fransman “would have signed and/or dealt with every one of these leases in some regard at some time during his tenure as MEC for Transport and Public Works.
“He therefore knew what he was saying was untrue, just as he knew that his accusations that the DA had taken building contracts in Observatory and Woodstock from Muslim businessmen and awarded them to Jewish businessmen was also untrue.
Fransman stuck to his guns on Wednesday, reasserting that “95 percent of all properties are owned by whites”.
He challenged Carlisle to produce all lease agreements of the province and city. “I stand by my point.”
He further accused Carlisle of having reversed “every programme with regards to transformation in the building and property sector” and “went on a serious assault to disempower coloured and African contractors and property owners in the Western Cape”.
On Tuesday, veteran ANC activist MP Ben Turok said he had written to Fransman challenging his views on Jews.
“My concern is that we should not be raising ethnic issues at this stage in South Africa,” he told the Cape Argus.
“The tradition in the ANC is that we were concerned with white domination, not with ethnic issues, which become a distraction. We should not be wasting our energy and time on ethnic theories. It’s an irrelevancy to the main structural fault in the country” - which was the legacy of apartheid, he said.