/ 9 July 2009

Niehaus begs for forgiveness

Former African National Congress spokesperson Carl Niehaus has asked to be given a second chance to rectify his mistakes, the SABC reported on Thursday.

Speaking for the first time since he quit as the party’s spokesperson in February, Niehaus said he had had time to reflect on decisions he made and was busy with rehabilitation.

“When I ask for forgiveness for what I have done wrong, I do not do so by trying to accept a lack of responsibility. I do not want to escape my responsibility,” he said.

“I want to be the person who made the decision to join the ANC when I was 19 and stuck with it. I don’t want to be the person who made wrong decisions.”

Niehaus was addressing journalists at the National Press Club in Pretoria.

Bad debt and broken promises
The Mail & Guardian broke the story in February this year about how Niejaus had left a broad trail of bad debt and broken promises behind him.

Confronted with allegations that he owed hundreds of thousands of rands to politicians and influential businessmen and committed fraud while working for the Gauteng provincial government, a tearful Niehaus admitted that he:

    Borrowed money over a six-year period from some of the brightest stars of the ANC and business galaxy, much of which he has not paid back;

    Asked to be connected to Brett Kebble because he was ‘desperate for financial help”;

    Had to leave a top job at Deloitte and Touche in 2003 after his financial woes became embarrassing;

    Owed the Rhema Church more than R700 000 when he was asked to resign from his post as chief executive and spokesperson by a full board meeting in 2004; and

    Had to repay R24 000 to director general in the presidency Frank Chikane when he left his job there under a cloud in 2004.