Fransman's grilling turns into a damp squib

13 September 2017 - 18:41 By Aphiwe Deklerk
Former Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman. File photo.
Former Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman. File photo.

Former Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman finally appeared in front of the provincial legislature public accounts committee on Wednesday after a two-year fight which included a court challenge.

He was initially summoned in 2014 to answer questions about the auditor-general’s report on the use of consultants when he was public works MEC between 2005 and 2008.

But his appearance turned into a damp squib when committee members failed to raise questions connecting him to the hiring of the consultants.

The meeting became heated when DA chief whip Mark Wiley asked him why he was moved from the public works portfolio if he was a “top performer”. Fransman and ANC committee members objected to the line of questioning.

Speaking after the meeting‚ Scopa chairman Ferlon Christians said he considered the matter closed. “I think Mr Fransman was very reasonable with his answers ... I think he answered well‚” he said.

“I don’t think it was a fight‚ a tit-for-tat‚ I think I tried to be fair‚ get the work done and close this chapter once and for all.”

The public works department had already given the committee an overview of the steps it took to address issues raised by the auditor-general‚ including disciplining officials involved.

“I don’t think there can be fingers pointed [at Fransman]‚” added Christians.

DA MPL Denis Joseph said Fransman had accepted part of the responsibility for improper spending on consultants but had “ducked and dived” when asked to accept total responsibility.

“As the political head at the time‚ we had to call him and question him for the mismanagement that happened under his leadership‚” said Joseph.