PA defends Beaufort West mayor on fraud claims

Re-elected Beaufort West mayor Gideon Pietersen

Re-elected Beaufort West mayor Gideon Pietersen

Published Feb 23, 2024


The Patriotic Alliance (PA) has challenged the DA to produce evidence that it claimed implicated re-elected Beaufort West mayor Gideon Pietersen in fraud.

The DA caucus leader in Beaufort West, Schaun Meyers, said Pietersen’s re-election came amid allegations of fraud during his first term in 2021 –and this pointed to “the intent of the PA, ANC and KDF (Karoo Democratic Force) to continue their mismanagement and corrupt practices in the municipality, running it further into ruin”.

“Pietersen is accused of entering into an illicit contract. This misconduct has reportedly incurred a cost of more than R77 000 per annum for the municipality.

“Furthermore, despite receiving communication from Steven Murray and Associates regarding a pending summons for the outstanding balance owed, the Beaufort West speaker, (Noël) Constable, allegedly failed to report it to the relevant structures within the council and the municipality.

“These actions by mayor Pietersen demonstrate a blatant disregard for established legislative frameworks, notably failing to adhere to council’s code of conduct,” said Meyers.

PA spokesperson Steve Motale said: “As the PA, we take allegations of corruption and mismanagement very seriously. However, allegations against Pietersen haven’t been tested by relevant authorities.

“We call on anyone with concrete evidence against the mayor to hand over such evidence to relevant law-enforcement agencies. Until then, the PA has full confidence in the mayor based on his previous performance.”

Beaufort West municipal manager Derick Welgemoed denied the allegations, saying the process to “recover” the funds was under way.

“The facts in the current scenario are...Dotcom Africa approached the then mayor, Pietersen, to place an advertisement in the Government Online publication. Pietersen signed the agreement (but) was not supposed to sign an agreement on behalf of the municipality as only the municipal manager can do that. The acting municipal manager during January 2023 then instructed the internal auditor to investigate the matter and to report on it,” said Welgemoed.

An internal audit report was completed in January last year which was then tabled at a municipal public accounts committee (MPAC) meeting in July last year, he said.

“(A law firm) was in the meantime instructed to recover the R68 931 from Pietersen. In summary, no fraud was committed. The speaker is not required to do anything as the process was duly followed (and) the attorneys are in the process to recover the money,” said Welgemoed.

Cape Times