DA candidate accused of being R600 000 in arrears in municipal rates
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CAPE TOWN - DA Central Karoo mayoral candidate Derick Welgemoed has come under fire for allegedly being in municipal account arrears of more than R600 000.
Questions have also been raised after he attended a bid opening meeting for a tender, allegedly in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Welgemoed has dismissed the claims, saying the municipal bill was under a trust related to a development that had been bankrupt for 15 years and not his personal account, and that the advertisement for the tender stated anyone was welcome to attend.
At a press conference on Wednesday, the ANC said they had received information that Welgemoed was being investigated by the Hawks.
“Those are complaints registered with the Hawks by the municipality and municipal manager. In addition to the investigation by Hawks, we also have another situation involving the same councillor, despite the code of conduct that does not allow a councillor to get involved in any supply chain, the said councillor was actively present, at the process of opening bids of tender.
“In terms of the municipal bill, councillor Welgemoed, didn't stop to make arrangements, instead he wrote a threatening email,” ANC head of elections, Cameron Dugmore said.
The Hawks and municipality did not respond to questions by deadline on Wednesday.
Last week the Provincial Treasury issued recommendations to the municipality, including that the “the accounting officer institute disciplinary action against Councillor Derrick Welgemoed as outlined in Schedule : Section 4 - “Breaches of Code of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act”.
This as the Beaufort West Municipality requested guidance regarding the conduct of Welgemoed, who attended the bid opening with supply chain management officials.
“Section 117 of the Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003, states no councillor of any municipality may be a member of a municipal bid committee or any other committee evaluating or approving tenders, quotations, contracts or bids, nor attend any such meeting as an observer. Additionally, interference in municipal procurement or supply chain management systems is also strongly rejected,” the document from Treasury stated.
Welgemoed dismissed the allegations.
“It’s a matter of can they read. The amount they are referring to (R600 000) the development went sour and it is under a trust, it is bankrupt. The trust which I was the director of has been dormant for 15 years, yet every election they come up with the same story.
“I’ve made charges, three councillors were arrested, these people are trying to get even,” he said.
Regarding attending the bid meeting, Welgemoed said the ad clearly stated anyone was welcome to attend.
Dugmore also alleged that despite complaints to Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, they got no response.
Spokesperson for Bredell, James-Brent Styan, said he was awaiting the outcome of a municipal investigation on the matter.
“The minister has noted a resolution taken by the council to establish a special committee that would investigate and make findings on the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct by the councillor. The statutory legal duty in cases like these reside by law on the Speaker and/or the Municipal Council who are encouraged to follow the due procedures in terms of the code of conduct for councillors. The minister will await the outcome of the investigation and the council resolution pertaining to this matter,” he said.