The public protector’s findings into the Western Cape’s communications tender could well boost the Democratic Alliance (DA) drive to present itself as a "clean and corrupt-free" political party - the antithesis of the African National Congress (ANC), analysts said on Friday.
Following months of controversy surrounding the communications contract between the DA-led Western Cape government and advertising agency TBWA Hunt Lascaris, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela revealed the findings of her probe on Friday, which found that the contract was valid and there was no evidence of unlawfulness.
Ms Madonsela, however, said she had made four findings of maladministration. The ANC in the province believes the maladministration findings are grounds enough for the resignation of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.
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Independent political analyst Daniel Silke said on Friday that the findings had vindicated Ms Zille. "They will reinforce the DA’s contention that it is an efficient and corrupt-free political party," he said. "The DA will be watched every step of the way, especially because the ANC wants to regain some lost ground in the Western Cape," Mr Silke said.
Political analyst Steven Friedman said on Friday that the public protector’s report was "interesting and balanced". However, the DA’s reaction to the leaked draft report earlier last week had brought up "many questions". "It is a balanced and interesting report - up until now, their (the DA) reaction was that there were all sorts of errors (in the draft report) and therefore they would challenge the findings.... I do not ever recall the ANC saying that about the public protector," he said.
Last month, Ms Zille had threatened to take the public protector to court if the "material errors in law" in the leaked draft report were not rectified. Leaked a week before a deadline for the province’s response, the draft report had recommended that the contract be cancelled as it was entered into unlawfully.
Ms Zille on Friday welcomed the public protector’s findings. "Our political opponents sought to make a mountain out of a molehill. They now stand exposed," she said.
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