GEORGE NEWS - George Mayor Melvin Naik said the municipality welcomes any investigation into maladministration and that they will give their cooperation, working with the Western Cape Department of Local Government in their investigation.
This follows after the MEC of Local Government, Anton Bredell, announced yesterday afternoon, 9 September, that he has ordered an investigation into alleged maladministration, fraud and corruption at the George Municipality.
Naik said that they take notice of the minister’s intention to proceed with further investigation.
“It needs to be mentioned that these are the very same allegations that were made during April 2018 that will be further investigated,” said Naik.
In his response to Bredell’s announcement, Municipal Trevor Botha questioned the timing and motive of the minister’s investigation.
He said the municipality has not received any notification in writing about Bredell’s intentions.
The statement by Municipal Manager Trevor Botha reads as follows:
"It is mindboggling and astounding for the Municipality to have learnt from a media statement that the MEC for local government, environmental affairs and development planning, Anton Bredell “Orders investigation into George Municipality and Probe ordered into George Municipality over alleged fraud and corruption”. While it’s true that section 7 of the Western Cape Act does not preclude the MEC from initiating an investigation into allegations, it does however, compel the MEC to notify the Municipality in writing of his decision and reasons for designating persons to investigate allegations – many of which have already been the subject of an investigation by the HAWKS and his Department of Local Government in recent months.
"The timing and motive of this investigation and the fact that the MEC considered it necessary to announce his intention via the media is questionable. A letter to this effect was sent to the Speaker of the Municipality on the same day of Bredell’s media statement.
"Bredell confirmed in a letter dated 10 December 2018, that he is of the view that it is unnecessary, in the current circumstances, for an investigation to be initiated in respect of the allegations set out in his correspondence to the Municipality, dated 20 June 2018.
"It is unsurprising that ever since the Municipal Manager, Mr Botha reported the R350 million Old Mutual Investment allegations of corruption to the SAPS: DPCI (HAWKS) a barrage of spurious trumped up and unsubstantiated allegations have since been levelled against the Municipal Manager and the Mayor. Despite reporting the Old Mutual investment findings following an independent forensic investigation, which far exceeds the legal threshold of prima facie evidence, on various occasions to Bredell’s office, it sadly did not elicit the same response and actions currently being taken by Bredell against the Municipality. It is unbelievable to note that the Old Mutual corruption case does not form part of the focus of Bredell’s probe.
"The ruthless subversion to publicly denounce the George Municipality based on unsubstantiated hearsay in the media, seems to support the view that their unsurpassable, selective, “probing” into allegations against certain senior officials appears to be a demonstration of political retaliation."
- Read more in Thursday's George Herald.
- Read a previous article here: Bredell orders investigation into George Municipality
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