Cape Town - Four former Kannaland Municipality senior managers appeared in the Ladismith Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, charged with two counts of fraud and two counts of contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Former human resources manager McGrandle Makier; corporate services manager Hendrik Barnard; municipal manager Morne Hoogbaard; and chief financial officer Nigel Delo appeared on various charges.
The four were accused of actions which led to the municipality losing millions of rand through fraudulent employment of staff members and fraudulent payments of inflated salaries, fraudulent overtime payment and encashing leave payment.
The four have been charged under Schedule 5 of the Constitution, which covers functional areas of exclusive provincial legislative competence.
Advocate Razia Valley-Omar told the court: “The accused are guilty of an offence. As senior managers and as officials they wrongfully, unlawfully and deliberately or in a grossly negligent way, failed to comply with a condition of their delegations in relation to irregular appointment of staff and irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the amount of R2 390 356.94.”
NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalilasaid: “Hoogbard and Delo are also facing charges of fraud at the George Regional Court.
“These charges relate to claiming two salaries from the Eden Municipality and Kannaland Municipality.
“At some.point they were seconded to Kannaland Municipality but continued claiming full salaries from both municipalities.”
Meanwhile, Makier and Barnard were represented in their bail application by advocate Faried Stemmet who happens to have been mayor of Eden District Municipality at the time of the issue involving Hoogbard and Delo.
As such he is a witness in the case and so his mandate in yesterday's matter was limited to the bail application so as to avoid conflict of interest.
The four were released on R15 000 bail each, with conditions that they must stay at their current addresses and inform the investigating officer if they are about to change their addresses. They were also told that they must not make contact with witnesses directly or indirectly and must handover their travel documents whether expired or not.
Their case has been transferred to the Oudtshoorn Regional Court and it will be on the roll in January 2022.
Ntabazalila confirmed that all the accused, except Delo, are back in the employ of the Kannaland Municipality in various leadership positions.
In August, Local Government MEC Anton Bredell wrote to the Kannaland Municipality asking for answers following Hoogbard’s appointment as acting municipal manager. At the time the appointment put the municipality in contempt of court, given a previous order obtained by the Western Cape Government.