Forget his gambling and womanising‚ dad was angel: Politician's daughter

07 September 2017 - 10:37 By Aphiwe Deklerk
Lee Chabaan and her father Badih Chaaban.
Lee Chabaan and her father Badih Chaaban.
Image: Facebook

The daughter of the controversial Western Cape politician Badih Chaaban has described her late father as a legend who had the heart of an angel.

Lee Chabaan wants people to look past his colourful history - which includes his love for hydroponic dagga‚ women and gambling.

“My father was a legend and legends never die‚ so I believe he is still watching over me‚” said Lee.

She spoke to TimesLIVE this week after her father lost his battle with cancer on Friday.

Chaaban‚ former Cape Winelands District Municipality mayor‚ was buried on the same day. But a memorial service will still be held for the Lebanese-born Chaaban in Cape Town.

Chaaban was well known in political circles for stirring up controversy. He allegedly had ties with notorious underworld figures‚ including Cyril Beeka and Yuri “the Russian” Ulianitski - both of whom were killed in drive-by shootings.

During his time as City of Cape Town councillor‚ Chaaban was a thorn in the side of former mayor and current Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.

At one point‚ during an investigation into spy claims and a mafia plot orchestrated by Chaaban to topple Zille as mayor‚ it was revealed that the politician used her face as a dartboard in his bedroom.

There were also claims that he had an appetite for women half his age and smoking “super-dagga” .

His former spokesman‚ Juan Duval Uys‚ said in an affidavit that Chaaban was so determined to get rid of Zille that he hired two Senegalese witch doctors to cast a spell on her.

Uys said that he ran his party from a brothel and that his Russian wife came to South Africa to work as an exotic dancer.

Chaaban told the Sunday Times in 2009 that he wanted to bring a “new dimension of transparency” to politics when he took office as mayor.

“Every politician preaches transparency yet they are not so transparent about their own lives‚” he said.

“Politicians are also human beings and they have their own idiosyncrasies and certain traits.”

In the same breath he admitted to being a “gambler and a womaniser”.

“I’d rather be honest than have some journalist snooping and seeing me at a casino with a woman. You see‚ I am a man of the world and I am not shy to say it‚” he said.

“You have got to admit to who you are and I don’t think there is anything wrong with womanising or gambling.”

But Lee said that’s not an image she wanted her father to be remembered for.

“I would like him to be remembered as a kind‚ honest man ... at home he was not like that. He was actually deep down a good man‚” she said.

“He really had a heart of an angel. I think this was a facade or a character that he embodied to the outside world but at home he was nothing like that‚” she said.

During his last days as a politician‚ Chabaan served as a councillor of the Witzenberg Municipality for the National People’s Party‚ which he established in 2007.

Upon his resignation in 2015‚ he vowed to expose the skeletons of his political rivals.

But in his resignation letter‚ he reportedly told the officials that he did not “give a f***k” if the municipality delayed filling his vacancy.