ANC wants AG to probe Oudtshoorn’s wasteful spending
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Cape Town - The ANC is calling for the auditor-general to investigate the Oudtshoorn Municipality for wasteful expenditure claiming the municipality contravened municipal ordinances by employing both a chief financial officer (CFO) and an acting CFO simultaneously.
Provincial leader of the opposition Cameron Dugmore said the ANC would call for a probe after receiving a written response from Local Government MEC Anton Bredell.
In his question, Dugmore had asked for details about how the two men, Louis Fourie and Gerald de Jager, ended up being paid for the same job at the same time.
Fourie, who was appointed at the municipality as CFO on March 1 last year, was appointed as the acting municipal manager from August 9 last year until February 9 this year. During that time De Jager was appointed as acting CFO and was to have held the post until February 9, 2021.
However, on February 8, the council said in a press release that it had extended Fourie’s appointment as CFO until February 28 as De Jager was on sick leave and expected to resume his duties on March 1.
De Jager’s appointment as acting CFO was again extended on February 28 to March 31, as Fourie had not yet recovered from his illness. Fourie eventually returned to work on March 9, 2021.
Responding to Dugmore’s query, Bredell said: “The municipality has not contravened any applicable laws and its decisions in respect of the required acting arrangements were informed by the need to ensure administrative and financial stability at the municipality.”
He said that the council had decided that for proper financial management, governance and transparency, Fourie could not execute the functions of both CFO and acting municipal manager at the same time.
“Furthermore, for the municipality to be eligible for consideration of the approval of roll-over grant funding, it was required to have both a municipal manager and CFO,” said Bredell.
Bredell said that the municipality had told him that Fourie’s was paid R822 000 and De Jager was paid R766 000 between August 2020 and March 31.
Dugmore said: “Our long-held view that MEC Bredell has one set of rules for DA-run municipalities and another for those governed by the ANC, is illustrated by his response to this question.
“The municipality could clearly have appointed an official within the finance department to act as CFO while the CFO was acting as municipal manager. This would have cost considerably less than the R766 000 that it cost to appoint an acting CFO.
“There are many more examples which will come to light showing the pro DA bias of this MEC which has impacted negatively on municipal governance. Given that Bredell is now national chairperson of the DA, Premier Alan Winde refuses to act against his MEC,” said Dugmore.