Peter Marais - from corruption and sexual assault claims to dreams of surfing over transvestites and naked women

2019-01-22 21:03
Veteran of Cape politics Peter Marais at the media briefing where it was announced that he will be the FF Plus's premier candidate in the Western Cape. (Jan Gerber/News24)

Veteran of Cape politics Peter Marais at the media briefing where it was announced that he will be the FF Plus's premier candidate in the Western Cape. (Jan Gerber/News24)

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There is little in South African politics the FF Plus candidate for premier in the Western Cape hasn't done in South African politics, from serving in Apartheid's sham Tricameral Parliament, a few months with Cape Town's mayoral chain, a few months living in Leeuwenhof – residence of the Western Cape premier, allegations of corruption and sexual harassment, and dreams of surfing over transvestites and naked women.

When FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald introduced Peter Marais as the party's candidate for the premier of the Western Cape on Tuesday by saying no other opposition party can boast a more experienced candidate for premier, he certainly wasn't exaggerating. 

READ: Peter Marais says he is back to fight for Afrikaans, self-determination and for Christian values

The seventy-year-old Marais' career as a political representative started in 1984 with the People's Congress Party, which he led and whom he represented in the Tricameral Parliament's House of Representatives.

The Tricameral Parliament was condemned as a ruse by PW Botha's apartheid government to give the impression that all races were represented (black people were represented by the "independent" homeland administrations according to apartheid reasoning). All true legislative power still rested with the House of Assembly, the white house. 

The Tricameral Parliament was abolished as democracy dawned, and by the end of the 1990s Marais was a senior member of the National Party, who later renamed themselves the New National Party (NNP), in the Western Cape and served in the provincial cabinet of premier Gerald Morkel.

In 2000 the NNP merged with the DP, forming the DA. After the municipal elections in that year, Marais became Cape Town's mayor.

By August 2001 Marais was embroiled in controversy after allegations that attempts had been made to rig public responses in favour of his proposal to rename Adderley and Wale Street after ex-presidents Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk. By November 2001 then-DA leader Tony Leon forced his hand and Marais resigned. He was succeeded by Morkel.

Marais's removal as mayor contributed to the simmering tension between the DA's NNP and old DP factions, and by December 2001 the NNP broke away from the DA and started working with the ANC.

Marais remained with the NNP and in the subsequent shuffling of the political deck chairs in the province, he became Western Cape premier on December 5, 2001. Just like his term of office at City Hall, his stay in Leeuwenhof lasted less than a year. On June 3, 2002, he resigned following allegations of sexual harassment. 

In 2004 the High Court in Cape Town found him not guilty of sexual harassment. The trial did, however, reveal a bizarre dream Marais had.

Marais said he dreamt he was in a building, surrounded by transvestites. He tried to get away from them and left the building. Outside the building, he found a surfboard with a woman's face on. He got on the surfboard. It lifted off and flew over the transvestites and naked women. But he fell off the surfboard and landed among them, upon which they started swearing at each other.

Interpreting the dream

Marais said he had the "weird dream" analysed and was told the surfboard could symbolise the church, which meant that the church supported him and that the dream could mean that God was creating confusion among people who used sex to attack him.

That wasn't Marais only time in court. In 2003 he and David Malatsi were arrested by the Scorpions on corruption charges in connection with a 2002 R400 000 "donation" by Italian count Riccardo Agusta to the New National Party.

Agusta said the donation was meant to pave the way for provincial approval of his R500m Roodefontein golf estate development at Plettenberg Bay.

In the end, Marais was acquitted, but Malatsi was found guilty on one of the two charges of corruption charges he faced.

In between court appearances in 2003, Marais also formed a new party, the New Labour Party. The party failed to make an impression in the 2004 national and provincial elections and hasn't really been heard of since.

In 2008 it was reported that Marais joined the then newly formed Cope. It is uncertain when he left Cope.

In 2013 he founded with Danny Titus the Bruin Bemagtiging Beweging (BBB), a lobby group for coloured interests.

On Tuesday, Marais said the BBB supported him in becoming the FF Plus's premier candidate.

It was reported last year that he joined forces with the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa). However, on Tuesday he said he was asked to advise them, and when they didn't follow his advice, they parted ways. 

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