DA calls for mayor to resign as another JB Marks official appears in court
Rustenburg - A 37-year-old man linked to multimillion-rand theft and fraud in JB Marks municipality in North West handed himself over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) on Monday.
Hawks spokesperson in North West Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said Mohau Shuping appeared in the Potchefstroom Magistrate's Court and was released on warning.
Shuping, the caretaker for sports facilities in the municipality, is charged with executive mayor Kgotso Khumalo and the director for municipal services and local economic development, Cyril Hendry.
Khumalo and Hendry were arrested on Friday and appeared in the Potchefstroom Magistrate's Court on charges of theft and fraud on the same day.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson in North West, Henry Mamothame, said Khumalo, Hendry and Shuping were facing eight charges of theft and fraud from the municipality funds.
"It is alleged that the North West University and the Programme for Community Development paid about R5 million into a trust account of an attorney for the use of specific projects by the municipality.
"The attorney was then given instructions to effect various payments, which includes a R208 000 mayoral committee contribution towards the funeral of the late MEC for agriculture, Duma Ndleleni, who passed away on 23 November 2018," he said in a statement last week.
It was later discovered R200 000 was allegedly paid directly into the account of one of the accused. From this amount, R64 218 was allegedly paid to an institution where Khumalo’s relative was a student.
"It is alleged that false invoices were generated to effect more fictitious payments. Further to this act of criminality, Khumalo allegedly instructed the attorney to make payment to an NGO which did not exist."
The three will appear again in court on December 1.
Meanwhile, the DA in JB Marks has called on Khumalo to resign as the mayor or face a motion of no confidence.
Constituency head Chris Hattingh said Khumalo had survived three no-confidence motions brought by the DA with the protection of the ANC.
"It is outrageous that the ANC can claim to be shocked at arrests of its deployed cadres when the DA has repeatedly made the ANC aware of financial misconduct implicating mayor Khumalo and JB Marks municipal officials.
"The ANC has throughout mayor Khumalo's tenure not only defended him but also shielded him from being held accountable through DA motions and written questions, including questions relating to the charges he is facing, put formally in terms of the rules of the council," Hattingh said in a statement.
Reacting to Khumalo's arrest on Friday, the ANC interim provincial committee (IPC) said the ANC had learnt with shock and disappointment about Khumalo’s arrest.
"Cde Kgotso Khumalo and a senior JB Marks municipal official made a brief appearance at the Potchefstroom Magistrate’s Court on charges of fraud and theft. These charges are of grave nature and warrant an appropriate response by the organisation.
“The IPC will in due course reflect on these developments guided by the 54th national conference resolutions on ANC credibility and integrity in dealing with corruption.
"We reiterate our utmost confidence in the competence of our courts to dispense justice without fear, favour or prejudice. We also firmly believe in the constitutional rights of individuals to be presumed innocent until proven guilty," spokesperson Kenny Morolong said in a statement.
JB Marks municipality was formed via the merger of the Tlokwe (Potchefstroom) and Ventersdorp municipalities.
The municipality is named after anti-apartheid activist John Beaver (JB) Marks, who was born in Ventersdorp on March 21, 1903.
African News Agency (ANA)