Public Protector makes scathing findings against MEC Bredell
Cape Town - The Public Protector has found that local government MEC Anton Bredell had indeed interfered with the appointment of staff in the Oudtshoorn Municipality.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that Bredell, the MEC for local government, environmental affairs and development planning, interfered with the appointment process of a senior official at the municipality and in so doing violated the executive ethics code.
The complaint against Bredell was lodged last year by Cameron Dugmore, the ANC leader in the provincial legislature.
“The allegation that (Bredell) on May 8, 2019 in his capacity as chairperson of the DA political party in the Western Cape, requested the acting executive mayor, the speaker, the chief whip and the chairperson of the DA caucus of the municipality not to proceed with the appointment of the director: corporate services at the municipality, until permission for the appointment was granted by the federal executive of the DA, is substantiated.
“The allegation that the MEC’s conduct in this regard was improper and constitutes a breach of the executive ethics code, is also substantiated. The constitution and the executive ethics code oblige members of the executive to conform to the prescribed ethical standards at all times, irrespective of the capacity in which they perform their actions. They are expected to always behave in an exemplary and ethical manner, whether performing their official functions or not, and in whatever capacity,” Mkhwebane’s findings read.
Premier Alan Winde has 30 days to take remedial action against Bredell.
Odette Cason, acting spokesperson for Winde, said a statement would be issued after scrutinising the 26-page report alongside the province’s legal team.
“What is already clear though is that the extent of the remedial action requested is limited to providing a report to the Western Cape Provincial Legislature, with comments from the Premier of the Western Cape, if any. It is therefore abundantly clear that Mr Dugmore is desperately trying to conjure up unsubstantiated and unfounded allegations, and is sensationalising the actual findings of the report. He is also suggesting remedial action that has not been determined reasonable or necessary by the public protector in her report,” said Cason.
Dugmore said when he had written to Winde requesting him to suspend Bredell pending the investigation, Winde had refused.
The ANC in the province have demanded that Bredell be removed from the provincial cabinet.
“The call for his suspension was based on reports of ongoing abuse of office by the MEC to further the DA’s party political interests at local government. And, in addition, allegations were that Bredell was using his office to fight against internal DA opponents in a factional manner.
“Further that Bredell was targeting black DA councillors (African and Coloured) while ignoring transgressions by white DA councillors. Further allegations surfaced about Bredell targeting ANC-run municipalities while ignoring serious transgressions in DA municipalities. Despite all these allegations the Premier refused to act against Bredell ... Bredell and the DA cannot be allowed to escape sanction for the clear perpetuation of racism and their attempts to appoint party loyalists over competent and qualified applicants,” said Dugmore.
Public protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe confirmed the legitimacy of the report and its findings.
“We confirm the legitimacy of the report but it is yet to be released publicly. Therefore we cannot delve into the comments on it,” said Segalwe.
Attempts to get comment from Bredell were unanswered at deadline.