George mayor Melvin Naik. Picture: George Municipality
George mayor Melvin Naik. Picture: George Municipality

‘Take DA’s suspension of George mayor with a pinch of salt’

By Mwangi Githathu Time of article published Jan 23, 2020

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Cape Town - Opposition parties have dismissed as propaganda the DA’s suspension of George mayor Melvin Naik over allegations relating to corruption and interference in administrative processes.

Good MPL Brett Herron said: “The DA’s spin that suspending its allegedly corrupt mayor in George restores its integrity in the Southern Cape should be taken with a pinch of salt.

“In April 2019, the leader of the Good party, Patricia de Lille, reported allegations of a corrupt investment practice involving DA finance portfolio councillor DL (Stag) Cronjé to the public protector,” he said.

“It was reported to Local Government MEC Anton Bredell in July 2018, but he failed to act. Despite substantial evidence, Cronjé continues to serve as the portfolio councillor for finance and has not been suspended by the DA.

“If there is evidence to suggest that Naik is guilty of misconduct, then the DA must take action against him. They must also take action against others implicated in corruption,” Herron said.

ANC regional secretary Mzwanele “Major” Sokopo said: “The DA must not give the impression that the investigation was their initiative.

“Opposition parties, in particular, the ANC and the Plaaslike Besorgde Inwoners, started the process.”

On Wednesday, the DA’s constituency head for George, Geordin Hill-Lewis MP, handed in the report of a forensic investigation into allegations of corruption at George Municipality at George police station.

“It gives us no joy doing it, but it is the right thing to do because we want the public to be certain that they can trust the DA in government, and that we take our responsibility seriously,” Hill-Lewis said.

Meanwhile, Bredell has accused the opposition of “grandstanding and trying to score cheap political points”.

He referred them to a media release dated April 4, 2019 in which he said “the provincial government is fully aware of the allegations pertaining to a possible investment scheme at George Municipality”.

The statement said a criminal matter had been reported to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) in George, and the municipality had procured the services of a forensic firm to investigate the claims.

Bredell also urged the national government to better capacitate the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to ensure criminal activity was speedily addressed.

“My department has over the past 10 years called the Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in to investigate cases in several municipalities across the province, but with little to no outcomes to date.”

Bredell said the lack of capacity at the SIU and NPA was a major concern.


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Cape Argus

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