Judgment reserved in Fransman 'nepotism' case

2016-01-27 19:38


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Cape Town – A full bench of the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday reserved judgment in the application to set aside the appointment of Cape Agulhas municipal manager Dean O'Neill.

Former municipal manager, Reynold Stevens, appointed in 2008, brought the application to the courts after O’Neill was appointed.

Stevens alleged his contract was not renewed due to interference by the ANC Western Cape’s regional and provincial leadership. O’Neill is the brother in law of ANC Western Cape chairperson Marius Fransman.

Details emerged in court of councillors being instructed to vote for the appointment of O’Neill, allegedly on the instructions of the provincial ANC office.

Advocate Robert Stelzner, who represented the Cape Agulhas municipality, the council, the municipal manager and O’Neill in his personal capacity, argued that the matter did not belong in the high court.

He said the matter was basically an unfair dismissal, while Stevens’ lawyer, Advocate Con Joubert, argued that it was a non-appointment.

Stelzner rejected any notion of political interference in the appointment of Fransman’s brother-in-law.

Feeble excuse

One of the reasons presented for Stevens not getting the job was his lack of relevant qualifications, which Joubert said was just a feeble excuse.

Stelzner said the council had made an unanimous decision to appoint O’Neill and it was not only carried by majority vote.

He said it would not be in the interest of justice to set the appointment aside, citing the amount of work that had already been done by the current municipal manager.

"A lot of water has gone under the bridge," he said.

The chaos that would ensue should the appointment be set aside needed to be considered, the court heard. This would include appointments, decisions, payments and various other jobs that fell under the municipal manager.

The timing of the case was questioned, with judges wondering if factions were "lurking behind it".

In a recent interview with News24, Fransman said he would take his accusers to court, as nepotism was not one of his weaknesses.

He said those behind the claims were simply adding fuel to the fires that were burning around him following a sexual assault allegation that was laid against him by a 20-year-old woman, a member of his staff, who accused him of inappropriate touching.

The ANC was not in court and was not represented.

Read more on:    marius fransman  |  cape town

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