Terblanche is fighting back

Juanita Terblanche

A local Member of Parliament is refusing to take her expulsion from the Democratic Alliance lying down.
Following media reports of the DA Federal Executive Council last weekend, the Herald asked Juanita Terblanche to comment on why she was sacked along with Dianne Kohler-Barnard.
Terblanche described reports on the outcome of the misconduct enquiry as, “erroneous, misleading and defamatory”.
Phumzile van Damme, the DA’s spokesperson on the matter was reported to have said that, “the decision to terminate Terblanche’s membership was linked to the MP’s misappropriation of party funds in the North West, which is her constituency.”
Terblanche says the term “misappropriation” suggests that she had committed a crime by taking money from the DA and, in terms of the factual finding of the internal DA appeal forum, this is incorrect.
Terblanche was accused of not paying for courier charges that erroneously (as confirmed by the courier agents) debited against the DA, although her name appeared on the invoice. Her evidence that she had, indeed, paid the amount of R767 in cash but did not receive a receipt was rejected.
“But, the auditor conducting a forensic audit (and confirmed by another DA witness) stated that there was no receipt book for cash paid and that records of cash payments were “shocking”. Several party members have, meanwhile, testified that they paid cash to the office and received either informal receipts or no receipt at all. One public representative, in particular, received what appeared to be a legitimate receipt, but the amount was never paid into the Party account,” she says. She intends to take the finding on this charge on review in the High Court.
In the second charge, Terblanche was accused of using party funds to pay for her personal cosmetic expenditure. She argues that this was for make-overs for billboard photo shoots and official appearances as the mayoral candidate in the municipal election campaign. Both were arranged by the provincial office of the DA. The DA’s appeal forum found this to be correct and exonerated her of all but one of the make-overs, amounting to R500. This was paid from the same account that Helen Zille’s hair was paid from.
“We believe that the finding in this instance was incorrect as it was for an artistic make-over for the photo shoot for a billboard of Helen Zille, Lindiwe Mazibuko, Patricia de Lille and me. The DA arranged and paid for both the photo shoot and the make-over.
This finding will likewise be taken on review.”
Further charges, relating to telephone and travelling costs during the elections, were rejected by the internal appeal forum, which said a finding of dishonesty was not borne out by the evidence. All the claims were processed by the office staff, done openly and reflected in the accounts. At worst, therefore, Terblanche could be found guilty of gross negligence. She should have known that the provincial director was not entitled to enter into such an agreement and that she was not entitled to claim for such expenditure. The provincial finance chair, however, admitted that there was uncertainty in this regard.
“Finally, my daughter and I were members of the North West “Flashmob” (a dance group that performed in public to draw attention to particular political sentiments). I was also accused of expecting the Party to pay for my two other children to accompany the Flashmob on a Head Office-sponsored visit to Cape Town. I stated up front and in writing that I would pay for my family, and it was accepted. I used my parliamentary air tickets for myself and all my children. I did not expect the Party to pay the air fare for my daughter, even though she was a member of the Flashmob. The appeal forum found that I did not repay the cost of my then four-year-old son’s visit to Robben Island (he was taken by his grandparents).
It was also found that the Party had pre-booked and pre-paid for a visit to the Aquarium. None of my family attended these occasions, I was never informed of any wasted costs or requested to pay any amount. I was however found guilty of misconduct for not repaying this amount.
I intend to also take this finding on review to the High Court. Naturally, the penalty imposed, namely the termination of my membership of the DA, will likewise be taken on review,” Terblanche concluded.

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