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Western Cape
Apr 25 2012 9:28AM
 
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Nadine Ford-Kritzinger

Cosatu yesterday said it would not attend the launch of the Western Cape economic development partnership (EDP) which is to take place tomorrow.

The labour body's Western Cape general-secretary Tony Ehrenreich yesterday said: "We will not be attending the launch, and instead call for an investigation into the spending and management of the Economic Development Partnership (EDP) process in relation to the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the compliance with national constitutional principles."

Ehrenreich said Cosatu was unhappy that it was not consulted in time and found out about the launch on its own.

"We have now become aware that the launch is going ahead, despite the fact that none of the representative constituencies endorsed this process or structure that emerged from the office of the EDP and the provincial government," said Ehrenreich.

He said there now appeared to be a desire to fill a room and try and give legitimacy to a process and structure that was not endorsed across society.

"We have also been advised that the government officials have now been ordered to attend this launch meeting, to give it numbers and legitimacy."

When Premier Helen Zille took office she closed the EDP because she felt it was "an ANC construct," said Ehrenreich.

He said even though "we were prepared" to discuss Zille's concerns within the Provincial Development Council, they were unable to provide any substance.

However, Ehrenreich said Cosatu would press for explanations of how money made available to the EDP was used.

"It has been confirmed that R2.5m, was irregularly spent on consultants and staff linked to this process," alleged Ehrenreich.

This undermines prospects of building a meaningful, effective partnership to direct and build the economy of the Western Cape, in conjunction with the national government policy, he said.

"We urge caution of representative organisations, in respect of their fiduciary responsibilities to expenditure, which they may become associated with, through attendance," he added.

Responding to Cosatu MEC for finance, tourism and economic development Alan Winde yesterday said: "Cosatu is just starting the next election campaigning early.

"They were invited on numerous occasions to attend the discussions and every time they cancelled at the last minute or rejected the request."

On allegations of possible misuse of the money Winde said: "I don't know why all these allegations about the R2.5m that was funded by the provincial government and the national treasury

"The process was an open bid where the Cape Town Partnership were pulled in because they were already on board for the city and the province, and understood the dynamics of the region."

nadinef@thenewage.co.za

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