DA to shed light on Morkel and Harksen links

The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape says it has ”taken a decision” on the findings of a party probe into provincial leader Gerald Morkel’s links with fugitive German businessman Jurgen Harksen.

However the decision and the findings will be made public only after Saturday’s meeting of the DA’s federal council.

Western Cape DA chairman Theuns Botha said on Thursday night that he received the report, drawn up by a four-person commission, on Thursday morning. It was discussed by the provincial management committee (PMC) on Thursday afternoon.

”We took a decision after receiving the report — the decision is referred to the federal executive (council) which will meet on Saturday,” Botha said.

He emphasised however that the PMC was autonomous of the federal council and its decision did not require council approval. It was going to the council only because that body had asked the PMC to conduct the probe.

The party appointed the commission in April to probe allegations concerning donations to Morkel by Harksen.

The DA probe was chaired by Prof Dan Morkel, retired dean of law at the University of the Free State and no relation of the mayor.

Other members were DA MP Ken Andrew, business consultant Tony Silva and Saldanha municipal councillor Patty Duncan.

Since the appointment of the probe, Harksen has told the Desai Commission he channelled more than R1-million to the party through its Western Cape leader Gerald Morkel and former finance MEC Leon Markovitz.

Earlier on Thursday Morkel again denied any suggestion that he had taken money from Harksen.

”He says if he’s found guilty of anything, he’ll be the first one to go,” said his representative Kylie Hatton.

”He’s looking forward to the time when Harksen is cross-examined and the allegations are proved to be untrue.”

Documents that appear to back at least some of Harksen’s claims that he bankrolled the DA and Morkel were handed to the Desai Commission on Thursday.

The documents, seized by police from Harksen and his wife, include a printout of Harksen’s cellphone bill, which shows that in January this year he was contacting Morkel up to five times a day.

The documents were handed to the commission by Captain Piet Viljoen, investigating officer in the multi-million South African fraud case against Harksen. – Sapa

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Ben Maclennan
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