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Trout vs Chaaban: the SMS wars

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Trout vs Chaaban: the SMS wars

by Barbara Meyer
10 Oct 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Today Independent Democrats councillor Trevor Trout is a worried man. This week Trout hopes to go before the Cape Town High Court to demand an interdict forbidding National People's Party leader Badih Chaaban from ever contacting him again.

Trout claims he has had to contract two bodyguards to protect him from Chaaban. "The contact with Chaaban has been very threatening and slanderous. This does not make me feel well," Trout says.

Trout told People's Post on Monday that Chaaban has continued contacting him via SMS - the latest a cryptic message on Thursday last week in Chaaban intimated that Trout may have been a factor in former councillor Abdullah Omar's heart attack.

Trout alleges that Chaaban offered him a bribe to become part of his National People's Party at the time of the floor-crossing window period. Apparently, ex-councillor Abdullah Omar was integral in an infamous meeting between Trout and Chaaban in Chaaban's bedroom in May. Trout says he believes he was approached by Chaaban because he was looking for geographical support and representation. Trout says he represents people in Lavender Hill, Westlake and Steenberg.

In the meeting, Chaaban allegedly offered Trout bribes to join his party in exchange for leadership in the mayoral committee: R3 000 cash, plus an additional R80 000 over a few years, a guaranteed seat in the NPP for 10 years and financial support in his security business. Trout says he went to the meeting with the full support and knowledge of the ID leadership. He said he returned the R3 000 to Chaaban's secretary three days later.

Trout had taken a cassette recorder in his jacket pocket to record the meeting. The transcripts of the recording have been submitted as part of evidence in a disciplinary hearing that Chaaban offered certain councillors money during the floor-crossing period. The City of Cape Town's disciplinary hearing took place in September.

According to Trout, if Chaaban is found guilty, he could be either reprimanded or suspended.

The findings will be made known closer to the end of this month. If found guilty, the NPP could be closed down and the three councillors who crossed over to the newly formed party could become ex-councillors.

People's Post contacted Chaaban for his comment on the allegations, but did not receive any response by the time of going to print.

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