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Zille queries Cango Caves ‘missing’ funds

Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has ripped into the ANC over the embattled Oudtshoorn Municipality.

In a sitting of the provincial legislature last week, Zille said the constitution was suffering abuse under the ANC and insisted that the country was returning to the days of oppression under the ruling party.

Helen Zille on the Cango Caves issue. Photo: Leon Lestrade. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

The premier referred to President Jacob Zuma’s claim that the ANC was more important than the constitution.

“This is an attitude that the DA is seeing in Oudtshoorn. The ANC lost an election there and they won’t get out of power.

They don’t want to get out of office because they want to continue abusing the funds of Oudtshoorn,” she said.

The premier wanted to know from ANC MPLs “what happened to the R16 million that vanished from the Cango Caves fund”. The Cape Argus last week reported that the Oudtshoorn municipality had allegedly moved millions of rand out of the Cango Caves trust accounts and into its own coffers.

Western Cape Finance MEC Ivan Meyer last week met the auditor-general’s office to ask for a probe of financial irregularities and mismanagement at the caves.

The Oudtshoorn Municipality replied that it owned the Cango Caves and had a constitutional obligation to manage it. “The 2014/15 Oudtshoorn budget provides for the upgrading of Cango Caves amenities in the amount of R16m,” Oudtshoorn mayor Gordon April said. “The bookkeeping fulfilling this budgetary obligation was recently completed in the ordinary course of fiscal and service delivery account management.”

Improvements to the caves, including the additional upgrading of the electricity infrastructure of some R4m, and the introduction of LED lights was a boon to tourism, he said.

The municipality said the customary management stipend payable to its municipal manager for running the Cango Caves had not been claimed by the incumbent.

“That the MEC of Finance, also the Western Cape DA leader and the Oudtshoorn DA constituency head, can ventilate rumours in the media without engaging the municipality, is, frankly, unspeakable.

“This mortifying behaviour will be taken up with Dr Meyer’s political leadership and with relevant national ministers,” April said.

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