Sparks fly at Cape legislature

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"I want to commend the Department of Agriculture for publicising those guilty officials, it is a great deterrent," ANC MPL Max Ozinsky said. Photo: Tracey Adams

Cape Town - Sparks flew during the last sitting of the Western Cape legislature, which saw ANC MPLs storm out after one of its members was ordered to leave the chamber for heckling.

DA speaker Richard Majola ordered ANC MPL Max Ozinsky to leave over his running commentary and laughter during Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle’s address to the House.

While there was a good mix of hilarious repartee, Ozinsky’s claims of DA hypocrisy, collusion and corruption in the awarding of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) tender had tempers running high.

The tender Ozinsky alluded to involved a land deal between the City of Cape Town and Naspers around an extension to the CTICC. Last year, the public protector declared the deal legal.

It followed concerns raised by the ANC about the deal, claiming the market value of the land was R50 million, but the city was paying more than R100m in its purchase from Naspers.

On Wednesday, Ozinsky accused Carlisle of creating a “smokescreen” to hide the corruption of the DA’s “old boys’ network”.

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DA leader Helen Zille. Photo: Tracey Adams


Ozinsky alleged that:

* The architectural company that was awarded the tender drew up the terms of reference for the same tender.

* One of the partners in the company that got the tender was married to someone who played a key role in the CTICC.

* Some of the land involved in the CTICC saga was bought by the city at double the price that it was first valued at in 2007.

* A senior official in Carlisle’s office was appointed as chair of the convention centre board.

And Ozinsky warned that the ANC would be asking for all the agreements and contracts between media company Naspers, the city and the province and the CTICC over the land issue, to be made public, including the “secret agreements”.

“Was it because these people were white that there’s no talk about corruption, is it because they are part of an old boys’ network, that government has taken no action about it? Is it because of all these factors that the honourable Carlisle gets up here continuously and say ‘there’s no corruption in this government?’ “ he questioned.

Carlisle said Ozinsky presented a picture of “massive collusion and corruption” but the facts told a different story.

He also denied that his head of department was appointed head of the board.

“It’s not true,” he spewed.

The MEC accused Ozinsky of failing to do proper research, saying that the public protector’s findings showed that the price of the land in question was at market value.

“Every accusation, fact after fact, is a lie,” he added.

Moments later the opposition benches erupted in laughter when Carlisle conceded that there had been “irregularities”, but not “dishonest irregularities”.

As the heckling reached fever pitch, Ozinsky was ordered to leave the chamber, but he ignored the instruction.

While the drama unfolded Premier Helen Zille, who also attended the last sitting, mostly kept out of the shouting match while ANC leader in the house, Lynne Brown, pointed out to the speaker that members of the DA were also guilty of heckling.

“Mr Speaker you don’t rule on the DA,” Brown said.

But Majola was adamant that Ozinsky had to go.

“Honourable Member Ozinsky, please leave this house.”

And after a five-minute recess, despite initially refusing, Ozinsky with the rest of the ANC members in tow staged a walkout of the provincial legislature sitting, citing bias rulings by the speaker.

Carlisle continued, painting a glowing picture of the convention centre.

“It’s one of the gems of Cape Town. We need to look after it, we need to take care of it,” he said.

Cape Argus

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