'Disrespectful' ANC leaders walk out of Scopa hearing

Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman and former health MEC Pierre Uys. (David Harrison, M&G)

Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman and former health MEC Pierre Uys. (David Harrison, M&G)

Western Cape ANC leader Marius Fransman and former health MEC Pierre Uys on Wednesday walked out of a provincial standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) hearing on the mismanagement of public funds.

"They chose to walk out. It makes a mockery of the processes and Acts of Parliament," Scopa chairperson Grant Haskin told the South African Press Association.

He labelled the walk-out "disrespectful", saying it seemed as though they were not prepared for the hearing.

Fransman and Uys were summoned to appear before Scopa to be questioned about the auditor general's report on the use of consultants dating back to 2003. The report showed irregularities and mismanagement of public funds.

The two did not arrive at the previous hearing on March 14.

Haskin explained they were in breach of the Western Cape Witnesses Act for failing to take the witness affirmation on Wednesday.

Action against them
"They left because they didn't want to answer questions," he said. "This exposes them to sanctions, including a fine or imprisonment or both ... which is unfortunate."

Haskin said it was now up to Scopa's legal advisers to recommend to the legislature what action to take against them. Scopa resolved to pursue the case in the new term of office, even if Fransman and Uys were elected to Parliament.

He said it was likely they would be elected to Parliament.

"I hope that they don't enter the next term of office with the same sense of disrespect," said Haskin.

Last month, Uys said the attempt to call politicians before Scopa was a "petty political decision". He said accounting officers, rather than politicians, were responsible for financial matters.

Uys and Fransman could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. – Sapa

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