ANC slammed for Niehaus disgrace

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

The Democratic Alliance says the manner in which the ANC has handled the case of the ruling party's former spin doctor Carl Niehaus "undermined the fight against corruption" in the country.

Niehaus resigned as the party's spokesman on Friday following revelations in the Mail & Guardian that he had attempted to defraud the Gauteng government and left several of his previous jobs under a cloud of financial irregularities.

Niehaus's woes are said to be due to his love for the high life. He is said to have previously owned a Porche, a Mercedes Benz C-class and a Jeep Cherokee - while working for the Rhema Church as its chief executive officer.

Niehaus admitted that he forged signatures while he was chief executive of the Gauteng Economic Development Agency before resigning in 2005; he also owed Rhema more than R700000 when he asked to resign in 2004; he also borrowed money from some top ANC officials.

On Friday ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe confirmed that the party "knew of Niehaus's situation". The ANC threw Niehaus a life-line by providing him with debt counselling and redeploying him within the organisation.

"The party [the ANC] cannot distinguish right from wrong, and is easily prone to excusing criminal acts on the basis that members of the ANC should be held to a lower moral standard from the rest of South Africa," the DA said.