Graham Paulse, head of the local government department, and his senior officials briefed the legislature’s standing committee on local government about the Hawks’ investigation into corruption.
Paulse also briefed politicians on investigations into other Cape municipalities.
In the DA-run George, he said, an employee alleged supply chain management irregularities and gross deviation from tender specifications, dating back to 2014 and involving two companies.
“The Provincial Forensic Services, based on a detailed assessment of the information and documentation, could not find substantive evidence and requested additional information. Allegations of fraud and corruption at the George municipality were brought to the attention of the department and the MEC, by a whistle-blower.
The department requested to meet the whistle-blower and the PFS in George to obtain additional information and determine if prima facie evidence existed of fraud and corruption.
The initial screening indicated evidence that supported the veracity of the allegations,” Paulse said.
Last month, the Hawks swooped on George municipality offices, business premises and private homes during a search-and-seizure operation, after allegations of fraud and corruption had been made concerning procurement processes and the awarding of tenders by the municipality. Electronic equipment and a number of documents were retrieved by the Hawks during their operation yesterday.
Paulse, however, said George was not the only problem in the province, with eight other municipalities rocked by allegations of maladministration.
They include Bitou (Plettenberg Bay), Kannaland, Oudtshoorn, Beaufort West, Cederberg, Theewaterskloof (Caledon), Langeberg and Stellenbosch.
In Bitou, a Section 106 intervention was in place, he said. There was also currently a probe into racketeering in the Kannaland municipality. The appointment of the municipal manager and chief financial officer were also found procedurally flawed.
The Hawks and the Director of Public Prosectutions are investigating.
In the DA-led Oudtshoorn council, allegations of tender irregularities, irregular expenditure and appointments of staff in contravention of procedure have been received.