March 4, 2005

With tongue in cheek, the IFP notes the long delayed release of the Booysen Commission Report by the Office of the KwaZulu-Natal Premier.

The commission was widely expected to enquire into the reasons and causes of the mismanagement of state funding in housing. So far, it has largely failed as the long-awaited report released yesterday is merely interim.

"The interim report raises more questions than it answers. It admits certain criminal liability but does not take the argument to its logical conclusion," said Dr Lionel Mtshali, MPP, who leads the IFP caucus in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Parliament.

"Coupled with the long delay, its incomplete conclusions incur tremendous cost to the provincial treasury on top of the housing scam which it was supposed to investigate in the first place," said Dr Mtshali.

Last year the people of KwaZulu-Natal welcomed the appointment of this commission at the height of the housing scam, exposed by KPMG forensic auditors and cracked by the Scorpions and the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Since then, the timing of the release of its report had turned into a grotesque saga. The initial date for release in early September 2004 was ignored despite vocal protests from the IFP.

It appears that the Premier received the report on November 3, 2004. However, the report only reached the Provincial Parliament in early February 2005, and saw its tabling as late as yesterday.

Dr Mtshali also said:

"The IFP believes the core tenets of democracy are transparency, accountability, and accessible governance. It was on these principles that the KwaZulu-Natal Parliament enacted the Commission of Enquiry Act.

"The IFP upheld those principles when it supported the Act. But in practice, the work of the Booysen Commission has been a disappointment. The interim report has not lived up to the expectations raised by the Commission of Enquiry Act."

Contact: Dr Lionel Mtshali, 083 256 4902