Cape Town – Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell says comments made by Patricia de Lille pertaining to alleged corruption in the DA-led George municipality are "devoid of fact".
"While I am fully aware of the election season and the need to score cheap political points by grandstanding, I would urge politicians to act responsibly and at the very least desist from spreading unverified rumours.
"It’s simply not a good idea. In the Western Cape we believe in sticking to the rule of law and not play acting in the court of public opinion," Bredell said.
On Thursday, the GOOD leader handed the public protector documentation about alleged corruption within the George municipality involving a councillor and his son.
Comparing the alleged corruption to that of the VBS corruption allegations in Limpopo, she said, the Daily Maverick reported: “It emerged that a similar investment and kickback scheme has been operating in the DA-led George municipality, in the Western Cape.”
De Lille handed over a document, including a forensic investigative report compiled by a law firm, which contain allegations that a DA councillor’s son was paid “handling fees”.
EWN also reported that the Hawks had raided municipal offices and homes of persons involved but no arrests had been made.
De Lille claimed the councillor’s son was given kickbacks that “evidently amounted to almost R400 000 in the first six months of the project”.
The alleged corruption outlined by De Lille is already under investigation. In August 2018, the George Herald reported on the suspension of the George chief financial officer, Keith Jordaan, for 60 days for possible financial irregularities, along with another councillor in the municipality.
DA HOT AIR ON CORRUPTION: DA leaders view allegations of corruption as a political tool. They trump up false charges against those who disagree with them while covering up evidence of corruption against members in their cabal. #GeorgeMunicipality #CoverUp #TheCouncillorsSon pic.twitter.com/NP5ZqZfsVE— Patricia de Lille (@PatriciaDeLille) April 4, 2019
Bredell said: "The Western Cape Government prides itself on taking strong action against any allegations of corruption and acting on wrongdoing without fear or favour.
"In addition, the provincial government is always prepared to answer to any questions relating to impropriety and wrongdoing with a clear conscience, hence this statement.
"In this matter, Ms De Lille states that 'evidence (of alleged corruption) has been repeatedly reported to the provincial government which has failed to act'.
"If Ms De Lille cared anything for the rule of law, or at the very least cared for the truth, she would have contacted me or the municipality in question to determine the facts first.
"The facts in this matter are this: The provincial government is in fact fully aware of the allegations pertaining to a possible investment scheme at the George municipality.
"A criminal matter has been reported to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) in George – known as the Haw– and the provincial department has been in frequent contact with the DPCI in this regard. The DPCI office in George can be contacted for further information.
"In addition, the municipality has procured the services of a forensic firm to investigate the allegations and the provincial department is further aware that the municipality has in fact already initiated disciplinary processes against the implicated municipal official.
"Further to the above, the provincial government is also aware that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) might explore the possibility of a proclamation into the matter, should there be sufficient cause to do so."