Cape Town 070611 Marius Fransman (right)during a ANC press conference. picture : neil baynes

Cape Town -

Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman yesterday filed court papers to challenge a decision of the province’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), while the committee chairman said he had received legal opinion that a criminal charge could be laid against the ANC leader.

The matter stems from a tumultuous Scopa hearing in April.

Fransman and fellow ANC member Pierre Uys were summonsed to appeared before Scopa in relation to an Auditor-General’s report on the use of consultants when both were MECs in the provincial legislature.

The pair refused to testify after their request for more time to prepare was denied.

Fransman and Uys then walked out, causing the DA to accuse them of being “unwilling to accept any accountability for corruption”.

The report in question related to R10.3 billion that was spent between 2004 and 2011 on consultants, contractors and other outsourced services.

In his founding affidavit, which ANC spokesman Cobus Grobler said had been submitted to the Western Cape High Court yesterday, Fransman asked the court to set aside a decision taken by Scopa that he not be allowed legal representation and that the matter not be postponed.

“It was in any event not so urgent that it had to be rushed through by the outgoing committee during the most inopportune and demanding period in the political calendar,” he said.

Fransman said he couldn’t prepare adequately for the summons, which he said he received in March or the beginning of April.

He said he could not give the summons his full attention as it arrived during an “very demanding period” in the run-up to the general elections.

“I was operating under extreme time constraints during this period,” he said.

He added that due to the considerable lapse of time between the events described in the Auditor-General’s report, and his leaving the provincial legislature in 2009, he could not be expected to remember everything.

Scopa, he said, should have understood that he was unable to deal with the “unspecified issues” “merely on recollection “given the considerable lapse of time” if they did not send him the specific questions to be asked beforehand.

In his notice of motion, Fransman asked that a decision taken by Scopa on 23 April be reviewed and set aside.

It had refused to postpone the hearing or provide Fransman and Uys with a list of issues he could expect.

Meanwhile, yesterday Scopa chairman Ferlon Christians (ACDP) said the committee would meet next week to discuss what steps to take against Fransman.

Speaking to Weekend Argus yesterday, Christians said members of Scopa had received legal opinion this week that the previous Scopa chairman or speaker of the legislature had to report Fransman to police for his conduct during the April 23 hearing.

Members would consult transcripts of the April 23 meeting and legal opinion to decide on how to proceed.

- Saturday Argus

[email protected]