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Cosatu man slates spendthrift minister

May 13 2011 13:00 Sapa

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Cape Town - Mayoral candidate Tony Ehrenreich on Friday condemned misconduct by top ANC officials, saying he felt personally let down by Cooperative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka's alleged abuse of state funds.

"Comrade Shiceka has disappointed me personally terribly in that what he has done under the guise of our government," he told the Cape Town Press Club days before the May 18 elections.

"I don't know how true it is and I hope there will be a hearing soon in the ANC about this, but if he has used state resources to go and visit his girlfriend in jail in one of the European countries, then that is a scandal and that's a huge problem."

He also called for an investigation against State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele over his wife's drug trafficking, and said she must serve her 12-year jail sentence handed down last week.

"Sheryl Cwele should go to jail and her husband should be investigated because certainly he should have known about the drug dealings.

She should have been fired when she was found guilty, he said, referring to the fact that she was still a municipal employee in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ehrenreich, who has said his political home is the "ANC of Mandela", believed political office bearers should be held to higher standards than ordinary citizens.

"We must expect the most ethical conduct from them and of late some of the things I have heard has made me worry about the level of ethics that come from them."

He said he did not think the Shiceka scandal had hurt the ANC's election campaign, and it would be wrong to dismiss the entire ruling party as corrupt because of the conduct of some officials.

"In all of our parties there are individuals who are corrupt and the full extent of the law must come to bear on them, but let's not extrapolate that into now saying the party is corrupt."

Ehrenreich reiterated that if he won the mayoral seat, he would forego the R1m annual salary that comes with the post.

The public protector is probing reports that Shiceka abused travel and accommodation privileges at a cost of more than R2.5m to taxpayers.
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