By Troye Lund and Estelle Ellis

New National Party parliamentarian and former welfare minister Abe Williams is expected to be sacked from parliament and his party on Wednesday.

After the three-hour judgment on Tuesday, the Western Cape branch of the NNP set up a committee to decide on his fate. But this, the party says, is a mere formality that must be followed before he can be axed.

This follows a Cape High Court ruling which found him guilty on 40 counts of fraud and theft involving more than R600 000.

Premier Gerald Morkel said: "I wish to express my regret about the pain and suffering this has brought to his family."

A statement formally ending Williams' political career is expected on Wednesday.

Williams, who took bribes for thousands of rands, and used money donated to the people of the West Coast and his own political party - the then-National Party - to pay off his own bank overdraft, the Cape High Court found on Tuesday.

In one of the most high-profile cases of corruption in South Africa, Judge Roger Cleaver convicted Williams of corruption and theft totalling R623 254.

The judge found that:

  • Williams, who is still a New National Party MP, took a bribe of R140 000 from a company involved with a house of representatives literacy project, Mercedes Information Technologies (MIT). According to auditors, MIT made millions of rands from the literacy project.

    In return, Williams promised that he would ensure the government kept on buying computers from MIT, when it extended the literacy project. He also undertook to speak to then-state president FW de Klerk about dropping an investigation into the first phase of the project

  • Williams took a bribe of R100 112 from Port Elizabeth millionaire Michau Huisamen to pressure authorities to extend to the Eastern Cape Nisec's existing tender to handle pension payouts in the Western Cape.

    Shortly before the deal, Huisamen sold Nisec to parastatal company Denel. In terms of this contract, Huisamen was to get R2-million if the tender was extended

  • Williams stole R343 142 from donations he had received to help the people on the West Coast and promote his political aims, to pay off his personal overdraft

  • He stole R40 000 from the proceeds of the West Coast Classic golf tournament, held for the benefit of the NNP.

    "The court case is not finished. I do not want to say anything," was the only comment Williams offered in a shaking voice when he left the court on Tuesday.

    The verdict had been a unanimous decision between himself and assessors Henk Rubidge and Ben Martin, said Judge Cleaver.

    He found that Williams transferred donor money on 18 occasions to his personal account, in an attempt to clear his overdraft. Although the bank received the benefit of such transfers, South African law recognised it as theft of "credit".

    Mike Savage, who did the forensic audit for the directorate for serious economic offences, indicated to the court that as much as 93 percent of donations that were deposited in an account reserved for that purpose found their way into Williams's personal overdrawn account or were used for his benefit.

    Judge Cleaver said Williams's evidence was "evasive" and "incoherent" and he often adapted his version of events when confronted with discrepancies.

    Evidence and argument in aggravation and mitigation of sentence is expected to be heard on Wednesday.