Cape Town - After robust debate and irritable outbursts, the Western Cape Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) decided on Wednesday to oppose a high court application lodged by provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman.
Scopa wanted to question Fransman and former ANC chief whip Pierre Uys about billions of rand spent by the previous ANC provincial government on consultants about a decade ago, when both men were MECs in the Western Cape legislature.
On April 23 the watchdog on public accounts was set to meet to discuss possible disciplinary and criminal charges being laid against the ANC pair. Scopa summoned the men to appear before it, and refused their request for a postponement.
The men refused to take the oath, and walked out of the meeting instead. Last Friday they then approached the Western Cape High Court to review and set aside Scopa’s decision.
When the committee met on Wednesday the pending court case effectively prevented Scopa from discussing the merits of the case and taking any decisions.
But members did decide to oppose the court action, and mandated the chairman to consult the Speaker of the Western Cape legislature to get the same legal representation for both parties who are listed as respondents in Fransman’s court bid.
Scopa’s ACDP chairman, Ferlon Christian, lost his cool several times, as he snapped at ANC MPL Siyazi Tyamtyam and Economic Freedom Fighters’ Nazier Paulsen.
Christian, who made several name blunders, became so annoyed with Tyamtyam taking his time explaining why he disagreed with the committee that he ended up calling him Skwatsha by mistake.
After several interjections Paulsen called a point of order: “Chair, you are out of order.”
Christian snapped back: “No, no, no, you don’t order me, wait… I’m not done, you don’t tell me order. I’ll tell you order.”
Questioning the chairman’s abrupt responses to the ANC, and clearly irritated by Christian’s use of the wrong name, Paulsen said: “Mr Chair, your behaviour is unbecoming of someone in your position.”
Christian replied: “You’re disruptive… If I don’t give you an opportunity to speak, you don’t speak.”
DA Chief Whip Mark Wiley urged the committee to get clarity on the fact that Fransman had used the state attorney as counsel in taking court action against a properly constituted legislature.
The ANC’s Kobus Glober said it was clear the DA and the ACDP were bent on not affording Fransman a fair process as they voted to oppose his application for just that.
Scopa meets again next Wednesday.