UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

UDM CALLS ON PUBLIC PROTECTOR TO INVESTIGATE DA APPOINTMENTS IN CAPE TOWN UNICITY AND WESTERN CAPE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK
UDM MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

In further fighting corruption, maladministration and the misuse of taxpayers' money, the United Democratic Movement (UDM), today requested the Public Protector to investigate possible maladministration/corruption by the Democratic Alliance (DA).  The investigation is in connection with the employment and rewarding of contracts to Mr Ryan Coetzee, the DA's party strategist and spin doctor, in various government positions since January 2001.

The UDM is of the opinion that a strong case can be made that the deployment of Mr Coetzee indicates a complete disregard for the separation of power between party and state.  This reached such a degree that Mr Coetzee even filed regular secret reports to DA Leader Tony Leon, MP regarding Cape Town Mayor, Peter Marais and Western Cape Premier, Gerald Morkel.

The correspondence in which Coetzee advised Leon how to best "deal with Marais" (exposed in "Die Burger, 29 June 2001") was written while Coetzee was allegedly receiving pay cheques from the City Council and the Western Cape Provincial Government.  It amounts to nothing less than spying on the Mayor of Cape Town at the expense of the city taxpayers, reporting to the Leader of a Political Party on information gathered and interpreted intelligence.

Tony Leon was informed by Coetzee in a letter dated 1 August 2000 that the people in the Western Cape Provincial Government are "onnosel" and that he (Coetzee) will implement a communication strategy for them.  (Beeld 4 April 2001).

This modus operandi adopted by the DA is reminiscent of the Watergate scandal even though Mr Leon might again argue that it measures "low" on the corruption scale, as he did with the street-renaming saga.

During January - March 2001, Coetzee allegedly held three positions: in the Cape Town Unicity, Western Cape Provincial Government and Democratic Alliance.  The opportunity for conflict of interest is clear to see.  During those three months it was abundantly evident that the distinction between DA interests and the interests of the taxpayers were blurred.  There is evidence of Coetzee being quoted in different newspapers across the country, variably wearing one of his three hats:  DA strategist, Cape Town Unicity Spokesperson and Western Cape Provincial Government communications adviser: § On 6 February 2001 he spinned the Parliamentary speech by the Premier (Die Burger) § On 2 February 2001 (Business Day) and 4 February 2001 (Citizen) he announced the DA's new alternative government strategy. § On 27 January 2001 (Volksblad, Beeld) he acted as spokesperson for the Cape Town Unicity Executive.

Presumably his contracts were terminated.  Then on August 15, 2001 the Premier's spokesperson admitted that Mr Coetzee was still involved with "Operation Open Door".  "Operation Open Door" is the Western Cape Provincial Government's R12 million image boosting plan.  The Premier's spokesperson explained that "Operation Open Door" had begun before Coetzee's contract with the Western Cape Province had been terminated and he was continuing to work on it".  (Cape Times, 15 August 2001).  Surely this is an indication that the lines are still intertwined?

Considering the facts, the UDM requests the Public Protector to investigate and make recommendations regarding:

  1. The terms of Coetzee's simultaneous appointments in the three positions and the implications thereof.

  2. The principle of an individual earning an income from the state and a political party simultaneously.

  3. Coetzee's alleged monitoring of a government institution with a view of reporting directly to DA Leader Tony Leon; and whether they instructed him to do so.

  4. Whether Mr Coetzee is still involved in projects of the Western Cape  government and Cape Town Unicity, despite recent pretence of termination of his contracts; (Cape Times, 15 August 2001). It should be investigated what this involvement entails and whether Coetzee receives any remuneration for it.

  5. Whether, if it is proven to be maladministration or abuse of power any steps should be taken against those involved.

  6.  Make recommendations to avert a repetition of such appointments in future by any political party.

Enquiries:
Annelizé van Wyk
UDM Member of Parliament
082 - 557 4184
083 - 522 4844

Cape Town
23 August 2001