Zille’s response to Rasool announcement

Statement by Mayor of Cape Town March 19 2008


The City welcomes Premier Rasool's decision to scrap the Erasmus Commission of Enquiry into the Speaker's investigation of the activities of Cllr Badih Chaaban.

The Premier's decision confirms the City's legal advice that it was an illegal and unconstitutional interference by the Provincial Government in the affairs of the City.

If the Premier believed otherwise he would have proceeded with the commission.

I will ask the Premier to make available to me and the public a summary of the legal advice that he obtained in response to the City's legal opinion on this matter, in the interests of transparency and courtesy. I would like to remind him that I extended that courtesy to him.

It is unacceptable, however, that substantial public funds have been wasted on this scrapped commission.

We will watch the establishment of the Premier's new commission of enquiry with interest.

As in the case of the first commission, I believe this is purely a political ploy ahead of the Provincial and National Government Elections in 2009. The Premier and the ANC are afraid of losing control of the province, and are trying their best to smear their political opponents.

This is underscored by the fact that the Premier announced his new commission to the media before he informed the City of Cape Town .

As I have said in the past, the City of Cape Town has put all of the evidence relating to the Chaaban investigation on the table.

The Police have full access to all of the evidence, including tape recordings.

I have also laid a charge with the police against Cllr Sheval Arendse and Kent Morkel regarding the offer of a possibly illegal inducement that the latter allegedly made to the former.

And an independent investigation of the City's probe of Chaaban has already been carried out by Advocate Josie Jordaan of the Cape Bar. It found no wrongdoing on the part of the City of Cape Town , only a legally required Code of Conduct investigation into Cllr Chaaban by the Speaker. Adv Jordaan also found that the investigation used an external company, Fivaz & Associates, because the City's internal audit only has the authority to investigate officials, not councillors. And he found that the procurement of Fivaz & Associates was carried out in line with the City's procurement policies and the MFMA. We have also repeatedly pointed out that if Fivaz & Associates did break the law in any way, the City cannot be held accountable, since it did not mandate any unlawful activities by this service provider.

If the City believes its rights are being infringed in any way by the Premier's new commission we will take the necessary action.

We welcome the fact that the Premier has included Cllr Badih Chaaban in his new investigation. However, he needs to explain why his Local Government MEC has not yet acted on the recommendation of the full City of Cape Town Council that Cllr Chaaban be removed from office. The Premier's claim, made at his press conference today, that Chaaban is being investigated because Province is ‘tired of waiting for the Speaker of Cape Town to act' is dishonest. He well knows the Speaker's investigation is completed and that the full council has voted to end Chaaban's tenure as a councillor [see the Speaker's statement below]. We sent this recommendation to the Local Government MEC over 5 months ago. In terms of the law, it is up to the Local Government MEC to remove Chaaban.

Statement issued by the Mayor of Cape Town, Helen Zille, March 19 2008





19 March 2008

For some time I have been trying to keep my office out of the political arena. However, I need to react to the Premier's blatant lie that I have been dragging my feet on the investigation into Cllr Chaaban's alleged breaches of the Councillor's Code of Conduct. It is public knowledge that on 10 October 2007 the Disciplinary Committee of the City of Cape Town recommended to council that it should request the Western Cape Local Government MEC to remove Chaaban. On 31 October 2007 full council resolved to request the Minister to remove Chaaban. This request has been sitting with the MEC ever since. In terms of item 14 (2) (e) of the Code of Conduct for Councillors, contained in the Local Government Municipal Systems, 32 of 2000, it is his responsibility to make the final decision to remove a councillor. I would also like to ask the Premier whether he is in any way influencing the South African Police not to act against Chaaban, following charges that I laid against him in October 2007 at Cape Town Central Police Station (Case 24477/10/2007), which seem to have resulted in no clear action being taken.