Minister Carlisle's Response to the State of the Province Address
"Marius Fransman: Putting King Herod in Charge of a Creche"
In her carefully reasoned "State of the Province" address, the Premier laid out the values, the strategy and the actions taken by the administration to meet that strategy.
This is the purpose of any meaningful state of the administration assessment. What we stand for, what we perceive the needs of our constituents to be, how we have joined those values and needs into an actionable goal and timelined strategy and what we have achieved in terms of those goals.
Her first value and goal related to corruption, and I quote: "first we must ensure that government is clean, efficient and effective. Corruption is stealing from the poor, those most in need of the State's assistance. Corruption makes poor people poorer".
That goal is fully shared by every member of this legislature and not least by the ANC official opposition.
It is instructive to consider what the administration of the former Premier Lynne Brown and her Cabinet said and did about the corruption they found when they took office from Rasool and his cronies.
Reflecting back on that period, Mcebisi Skwatsha said "the corruption in government also served to corrupt parts of our movement". Thus "the programme began under Lynne Brown's premiership, of strict monitoring of governance procedures...exposed...corruption without fear or favour...the outcomes of some of our investigations proved that we were not wrong in our approach".
There was thus corruption in the ANC when Brown took over. She commenced a clean up. Rasool and former minister Ramatlakane, who had been exposed by the Legislature's Standing Committees for a host of irregularities, were summarily dismissed.
Marius Fransman, who by his own admission was aware of the massive plundering of the Department of Transport and Works, was transferred to the meticulously managed Department of Health.
The flawed and irregular attempted sale of our most valuable Somerset property to political cronies was cancelled overnight. The services of media and events consultants, Hip Hop and Brand Talk, were immediately stopped.
A Treasury investigation into the awarding of tenders for consultants awards to the value of some R500 million in Fransman's department revealed that, in many cases, they were irregularly, improperly and unlawfully.
Further investigation showed that in many cases, they achieved little purpose in terms of service delivery, and served only to make a number of companies and consultants very rich indeed.
All further procurement of such consultancies was stopped, and R460 million was stripped off the department's budget to prevent any further shenanigans.
Former Premier Brown, in somewhat controversial circumstances, sought to get to the bottom of the "bribes for journalists" scandal. All of this was done by an ANC administration. Brown demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that there was massive corruption and irregularity occurring in the Rasool government.
It is worth noting that this was the first instance in 15 years of an ANC cabinet cleaning up a rotten administration. It was driven by the reforming zeal of Brown, Skwatsha, Ozinsky, Strachan, Gabru, McKenzie, Jacobs, Mgaza and others in the legislature.
Not only did the ANC at national level not embrace this extremely positive development as evidence of their avowed intention to stamp out corruption, but they turned savagely on the corruption-busting reformers. The president himself has denounced them, and left it to the chief architect of maladministration - Fransman - to drive them from public life.
The ANC therefore confirms again that nothing and no one - not even their own comrades who gave their lives to the struggle, were imprisoned, tortured and driven into exile - will stand in the way of their determination to plunder the people's money.
Nothing symbolises more clearly that the ANC has lost its moral mooring and is drifting at sea than its appointment of Marius Fransman to lead the party in the Western Cape.
Therefore, let us look more closely at the life and times of Marius Fransman.
The plundering of the Department of Transport and Works portfolio of which Fransman was the minister for almost four years was on a massive scale. Treasury investigated over R500 million of consultancy, much of it highly irregular.
In a much more detailed investigation, the auditor-general highlighted 18 consultancies and companies procured by Fransman's department. The AG noted that these consultancies had been paid R197 million in the financial year 2008/2009, an increase of 81% on the previous year. All appointments were either seriously flawed and/or badly managed or both. Inter alia, the following serious breaches of supply chain management were noted:
- Formal needs assessment was not conducted.
- Competitive appointment processes were not followed.
- Reasonableness of fees proposed by consultants were not evaluated.
- Contracts were awarded without a maximum contract value being specified.
- Non-compliance with appointed conditions to compete on a quotation basis.
- Declaration of financial and related party interests were not completed.
- Consultants did not complete all the deliverables.
- Consultants were used for events that did not relate to the functions of the department.
- Contract values were exceeded.
- Consultancy contracts were extended regularly (and irregularly).
- The use of limited bidding was not reported to, or approved by, the accounting officer, the provincial treasury nor the auditor-general. The department did not utilise or implement the completed deliverables of ten consultants to a value R72 million.
Thus, every rule in the procurement book was broken, and the way was open for corruption on a grand scale.
The plundering of the department that now ensued touched every branch.
Tracking and ticketing systems were installed at a cost of over R60 million and never functionally used. I have now closed this department down.
American consultants were hired for 2010 at a cost of R90 million despite the department having a very small role to play, and in the end only spent some R2 million on 2010.
About 1 500 learners were recruited and offered training in chaotic circumstances. At the end of two years, not one learner had been certified. The cost to the department was R60 million.
Properties were sold for over R200 million under very favourable circumstances to the buyer. Despite every effort, only one has been paid, and the rest are protected by sweetheart clauses negotiated directly with Fransman and inserted despite the objections of his staff.
In addition, Fransman was fully involved in the Somerset debacle, visiting Dubai and arranging special briefing sessions by his staff for the preferred bidders.
The most serious irregularities occurred in respect of Hip Hop and Brand Talk. These two events and media companies were procured in bizarre fashion to service the entire administration. Their final cost to the administration was R107 million. Their cost to Fransman's department was R26 million. They include the following dodgy transactions:
- R4.1 million for Madiba's 90th birthday. I have yet to see proof of expenditure for this charge.
- R1.3 million for a "tik off'' campaign, which no one has been able to trace.
- R88 693 for the cancellation of a function that was never held.
- R628 000 for an interfaith function. No one is aware of where it was held or who attended it.
So the list goes on - duplicated invoices, incorrect invoices, all of which we are trying to recover despite Hip Hop having placed itself and its parent company into voluntary liquidation.
When this administration took over, it carried out three further major investigations, and instigated or completed over 30 forensic investigations.
The HOD's contract was terminated, and two other senior officials were fired. There could be no doubt that massive corruption had occurred, committed by persons as yet unknown. The files were handed to the Hawks, many months ago, but progress appears to be distressingly slow.
In addition, Fransman has been implicated by one of the beneficiaries in the alleged payments to journalists.
I know there were such payments because a partner in the events company then retained by the ANC administration told me that he was requested to facilitate the bribes, which he refused to do. It is now long overdue that he makes this information public.
Fransman has been quoted in the Argus (17.02.2011) that he "'knows precisely what the details of the case are but all will be revealed soon. The truth will come out soon". Those words will come back to haunt him.
Mr Fransman is now the leader of the ANC in the Western Cape. He will therefore embody everything the ANC stands for in the coming election.
He freely admits that "exorbitant fees were paid to consultants" in his department (Cape Argus - 16.10.2010).
Thus the first issue is resolved. He knew what was happening in his department. Therefore he must also have known that corruption would inevitably occur in the wake of irregular contracts.
So here is Fransman the leader. The last best hope of the ANC in the province. As minister he was seldom in his office, but preferred to dispense court from the very pricey Cabana restaurant down the road. Those must have been halcyon days.
When ANC today announced that "the ANC has to identify a populous (sic) coloured leader who will become the face of the ANC in the Western Cape and marshall all resources and forces to rally behind this figure" they could not have espoused a more divisive strategy or chosen a worse person to lead it.
They have chosen a leader who admits to having presided over the plunder of a great department, the result of which was hundreds of millions intended for the poorest of the poor went in exactly the opposite direction.
They have chosen a leader of proven political gutlessness. In 2007, Fransman stated "I am calling for a moratorium on affirmative action". Five days later he grovelled in a letter to the Cape Times "I support affirmative action fully, and I believe it should be vigorously implemented".
They have chosen a leader who commits himself to non-racialism, and then calls for the deracialism of ownership patterns in the province via mass action of coloureds and blacks- mentioning the events in Tunisia and Egypt. This is a clear attempt to drive a racial and violent agenda in the province.
It is also what his colleague Jeremy Cronin once referred to as the Zanufication of the ANC.
Today we watch on as Mr Fransman maintains a deafening silence on the news that the ANC's proposed labour law amendments will disproportionately affect coloured South Africans in the Western Cape.
Will he speak out? Will anyone in the ANC speak out?
Because he knows his place.
Because he has learnt his lesson.
Because he is here to serve Luthuli House, not the people of the Western Cape.
The second thing we would do well to remember is that Mr Fransman's record in public office is a dire one.
Whereever he went, corruption, maladministration and incompetence inevitably followed.
Currently, every man and his dog is investigating the things that happened in Transport and Public Works.
And they involve everything from favours-for-pals to plundering the public purse for the benefit of the usual suspects, to Fransman's alleged role in the "brown envelope" scandal that saw two journalists allegedly paid to write favourable stories about the previous administration.
"I will be vindicated," Mr Fransman argues. "It's all a plot," he claims. "You will see," he says.
Well, Mr Fransman, we await.
Why do you not act to clear your name?
What are you waiting for?
Where is the evidence to which you refer?
How long do you need?
And this goes to the heart of the matter.
Luthuli House, for all its desperation to elect to the Western Cape a puppet on a string, has instead elected Kind Herod and put him in charge of the local crèche.
The ANC never seems to learn.
And even after all of that, perhaps Mr Fransman, like so many ANC representatives, is not as loyal as Luthuli House might like to think.
In late 2008, with the national and provincial election looming and the ANC's hold on the province slipping through its fingers, it was Mr Fransman who held a press conference to announce, and I quote, "after much in-depth soul-searching" that he had decided not to join Cope, but to stay with the ANC.
Now, I ask you this: what loyal ANC member, indeed, ANC leader, needs to undertake "much in-depth soul-searching" before deciding to stay with the party he supposedly represents?
The answer is a simple one: a man of convenience and not a man of conviction.
Lo and behold then, if his "loyalty" has not now been rewarded.
And that makes perfect sense, because you can be sure of one thing in South Africa today: it is difficult to support the ANC purely as a matter of conscience - the party has lost its moral mooring and is drifting at sea - but in exchange for something, well, that is a different story.
Luthuli House made a deal with the devil. And it's got its just rewards.
It might have an apparatchik in place, but make no mistake, when things get tough, you can be sure Mr Fransman won't waste a moment undertaking some more urgent "soul-searching" about his position.
So, Mr Speaker, I conclude this debate with these eight questions. To each one there is a simple answer: these questions will be put to Fransman over and over again.
Why did you not do anything about the irregular and exorbitant consultancies during your watch which you admit you knew about?
Were you aware of corruption in your department?
Did you benefit personally as a result of this corruption?
If not, why will you not subject yourself to a family lifestyle audit?
Where is the evidence that you say clears your name?
Why have you not made it available to the public?
Seeing you admit to knowing the truth about "the bribes to journalists", when are you going to share it with the rest of us?
Do you answer to the people of the Western Cape or to Luthuli House?
Why are you silent on the proposed ANC labour law amendments that will disproportionately affect coloured South Africans in the Western Cape, as well as millions of people of all races across the country?
And, finally, a question for the ANC: why is it the ANC has chosen to reward someone so mired in maladministration and allegations of corruption and incompetence with a provincial chairmanship?
I believe the answer is the same because Mr Fransman is a cadre who knows his place.
That, in the ANC of today, approaching its 100th birthday, is the highest value of all.
Media Liaison Officer for the Ministry of Transport and Public Works
Western Cape Provincial Government
Tel: 021 483 8954
Cell: 083 641 9691