GEORGE NEWS - George Municipal Manager Trevor Botha, former mayor Melvin Naik, the Director of Community Services Walter Hendricks and two other officials - Wessel Robertson and Rowan Botha - will appear in the George Magistrate's Court tomorrow, Friday 9 October, on charges of fraud, corruption and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
The charges relate to Naik's mayoral project, War on Waste.
The five were recently served with court summonses by the Hawks Serious Commercial Investigation. Tomorrow will be their first court appearance in what is expected to be a voluminous case. Both Botha and Naik have proclaimed their innocence and said they are eagerly awaiting their day in court.
Proof and promises
Hendricks said no court is a nice place to be, but it will be proved that the appointment of the contractor was done legally by the Supply Chain Unit from December 2017 to February 2018.
The contractor Hendricks refers to is Myron Bruiners, from Mossel Bay, who claims that he was promised a contract by the mayor and MM and paid them to deliver on their promise.
He claims they then did not keep their end of the bargain.
Hendricks said it will also be proved that his department acted correctly by terminating the services of the contractor, as the contractor did not take part in the big tender. "The other allegations must be investigated separately from their appointments," said Hendricks.
"Illegal dumping is still a major problem everywhere. We did something about it and now have to stand in court because a contractor feels his contract should not have been terminated. It would have been illegal to keep him as a contractor."
Robertson indicated that he would not comment at this stage, on the advice of his lawyer. Several attempts to obtain contact details of Rowan Botha were unsuccessful. However, upon enquiry, his lawyer said his client will not comment at this stage.
The Hawks started their investigation into the War on Waste in 2018. Their investigation was handed to the National Prosecuting Authority in April last year. Meanwhile, Western Cape Minister of Local Government Anton Bredell ordered his own investigation and released a report in January this year. Shortly thereafter Melvin Naik was unseated as mayor.
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