I'm not corrupt, says Truman Prince

Johannesburg - Beaufort West mayor Truman Prince is unapologetic about requesting that a tender be given to a construction company which was "sympathetic and having a relationship with the ANC".

This was after the Democratic Alliance accused Prince of blatant corruption for writing a letter to the board chairperson of the Construction Education Training Authority (CETA) asking that he meet with a certain contractor.

This was for the construction of a skills development and trade test centre to be built in the town.

Prince, however, said he was a seasoned politician and would never be stupid enough to ask for corrupt favours.

"I didn't ask for money," he told News24.

'Nothing wrong'

"In that letter it doesn't say I am looking for R25 million or R50 million. I said... the ANC when we get this skills centre we will go through our own procurement and get a tenderpreneur who can do the job and which the ANC will benefit at the end of the day. According to me there is nothing wrong."

However, he says the chairperson did not respond to his letter and CETA used its own procurement for the project.

"This is what we should like to happen but we never said this is what must happen."

He said the Beaufort West municipality conducted all its business in the parameters of the law.

In the letter, dated December 3, 2015, Prince wrote to CETA chairperson Raymond Cele asking him to meet with Mawonga Furmen.

"We are also sceptical that our construction companies will not be in a position to benefit from this project, as the sourcing of service providers from your end will attract more tenderers from the Gauteng province and thus disadvantage our people,"  Prince wrote.

"We are an ANC-led municipality, we are therefore in need of financial injection for our 2016 local government election campaign and therefore will also want to see construction companies sympathetic and having a relationship with the ANC to benefit, in order for these companies to inject funds in our election campaign process."

Read the full letter here

Prince acknowledges that he wrote the letter and signed it.

He did not see a problem with his request. The only error he possibly saw was that he sent the letter on his mayoral letterhead.

"Maybe it was an oversight for me writing it on my mayoral letterhead.

"But from my side I didn't do anything wrong. I said this was going to be a good thing for the ANC before the elections."

He wanted to transform the economy of the Central Karoo, which he claimed was still monopolised by the white minority.

But Prince says he is prepared to be "crucified" for his views.

"If I must be crucified as an ANC mayor to enhance business... then I don't care.

Opportunity

"I was trying to... give the poorest of the poor the opportunity to go into business. It's long overdue. The economy still belongs to a few white people in this country."

Prince accused the DA of trying to put the ANC in a bad light.

This comes as the country prepares to go to local government elections later this year.

He said it was the DA's tender processes which had to be investigated.

"You who shouts and talks about corruption must be investigated. If you show a finger then you must always remember there are three fingers pointing back at you."

The DA has said it will lay criminal charges against Prince on Thursday.

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