Marius Fransman has resigned from the Western Cape Legislature.
The ANC leader’s shock resignation on Friday came a day after the Western Cape High Court denied his application not to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).
The embattled ANC provincial chairman and the ANC Provincial chief whip Pierre Uys were called on to answer allegations, following an investigation by the Auditor General into 31 contracts, including 20 from the Transport and Public Works Department, then headed by Fransman.
The report found this department, and Western Cape Health, of which Uys was the MEC, spent R9.2 billion on consultants.
The Democratic Alliance says Fransman’s abrupt resignation “did not come as a surprise”, but that he would still have to answer to Scopa.
“His long absence from the House and his disruptive behaviour will not be missed,” says Mark Wiley, DA chief whip in provincial parliament.
“He would have been automatically suspended from the house on Thursday because, the rules are, if you miss 15 sittings of the committee you are on, you will be removed.”
Fransman, in a statement on Friday, instead said his reason for quitting was because of problems with the ANC provincial leadership.
Fransman had last been in the legislature in December.
He said: “My decision in 2013 to return to the Western Cape to fight alongside the poor and the downtrodden… is being curtailed by the ongoing ANC internal turmoil, infighting and factions, makes it near impossible to execute my duties to ensure the upliftment of my constituents.
“I can no longer justify a salary without the mechanism to deliver on my calling.
“I have searched my conscience; I have applied my mind; I have consulted with trusted comrades, and with my family, and I have concluded that the ANC at all levels is at an ebb in its glorious 104-year history of excellence, indicated by internal strife and contradictory statements.”
He added that he would continue to serve as provincial chairman, and “dedicate my efforts to rebuild the trust between the people, civil society and the ANC”.
Fransman is yet to appear before the ANC’s National Disciplinary Committee on allegations that he sexually harassed 21-year-old Louisa Wynand in January this year.
He was asked to step aside as provincial chairman while investigations were underway.
Spokesman for the ANC in the party, Jabu Mfusi, says the divisions in the provincial leadership contributed to Fransman’s resignation.
“His resignation was of a personal nature. He has this thing, which has not be tried in any court of law but has already judged him in the public,” said Mfusi.
“It was making it difficult for him to go to the provincial parliament and do his job.
“We have accepted with pain his resignation, he is a reservoir of knowledge. We have lost that.