Zille on postponement of Erasmus commission

Statement issued by Mayor of Cape Town February 11 2008.

City welcomes Premier's decision to postpone Erasmus commission

In response to the City's advice that the Erasmus Commission was unlawful and unconstitutional, Premier Rasool has informed me today that he will postpone the Commission while seeking further legal advice.

This is the first step towards abandoning the Commission. It is the beginning of the end for the Erasmus Commission.

The City welcomes the Premier's decision.

It is unfortunate that greater legal caution was not applied in this matter from the outset.

The City's senior counsel opinion states that the necessary conditions for Province to launch its Section 106(1)(b) investigation and Commission of Enquiry do not exist.

By launching the Erasmus Commission without these conditions, the Province initiated an unconstitutional interference in the affairs of another sphere of government.

The Premier has done the right thing by acting before the Erasmus Commission proceeded any further.

Apart from the legal and constitutional implications, continuing the Commission would incur R5 million in legal fees alone, of which about R2 million would have to be paid by the City.

Given the unlawful nature of the process, this would amount to fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

The City of Cape Town has already put all evidence on its investigation into Cllr Badih Chaaban in the public domain, and the police have been investigating this matter for five months, with full access to this evidence, including tape recordings. If they suspect unlawful activities on the part of anyone in the City or any other organisation involved, the police must lay a charge. So far they have not done so.

Moreover, an independent investigation carried out by Advocate Josie Jordaan of the Cape Bar found no evidence of illegal spying by the City, and concluded that the Speaker had launched a legitimate and legally required investigation into the activities of Councillor Badih Chaaban.

Statement issued by Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town, February 11 2008