Rasool gets biz backing

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

The saga around the Western Cape premier has taken another turn, with reports saying that a strong business lobby has stepped in to secure his political future.

ANC insiders yesterday confirmed that a group of influential Cape Town businessmen had met in Sea Point on Saturday to form an "interest group" aimed at lobbying the ANC national working committee to retain Rasool, pictured, as premier of Western Cape.

The sources claimed that Patrick Tarring and Hilda Ndude attended the meeting. Tarring and Ndude are known to be ANC members. Ndude was a member of the provincial legislature before becoming deputy chairman of the V&A Waterfront Company, a position she no longer holds.

Tarring and Ndude were not available for comment yesterday.

The ANC national working committee is expected to take a final decision this week on whether or not Rasool should be axed.

The V&A Waterfront Company was sold in 2006 by parent company Transnet for more than R7 billion to a consortium of the Dubai company Dubai World and a network of Western Cape BEE companies.

Rasool's involvement in the deal came under fire after it was alleged he "promised" to sell the Somerset public hospital, next to the V&A Waterfront, to the same consortium.

ANC Western Cape spokesman Garth Strachan said: "We know nothing about this business grouping and if they are ANC members they are required to work within the constitutional structures of the ANC to lobby for leaders and not through separate unconstitutional meetings".

Cosatu Western Cape provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said businessmen should not undermine the ANC's democratic processes.

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), an influential religious body in Western Cape, which criticised the ANC's decision to axe Rasool, saying the decision was "bad for investment in the province", did not respond to messages.