DA Limpopo leader Jacques Smalle denies fraud, tax evasion claims
Pretoria - Embattled DA Limpopo leader Jacques Smalle has denied fraud and tax evasion claims levelled against him, saying the allegations are part of a political smear campaign.
Threatening legal action, Smalle yesterday said he knew the people who were behind the claims but declined to reveal their names.
Pretoria News reported last week that the DA national leadership had postponed the Limpopo elective conference after allegations of fraud and tax evasion emerged against Smalle, the incumbent provincial leader who sought re-election.
This included claims that Smalle had ignored allegations of abusing party funds levelled against him.
Former DA federal spokesperson and MP Solly Malatsi was expected to challenge Smalle for the party’s top job in the province.
The conference was postponed from last weekend to a yet to be announced date.
In an inteview with Pretoria News, Smalle denied any tax irregularities under his watch. He said those behind the allegations sought to discredit him ahead of the elective conference.
“This is clearly just an attempt to discredit my name and a political smear campaign. Up until now, I’ve yet to receive a charge sheet from the party. I challenge a few things here. How do they know what I’ve submitted to Sars. This was just someone, I can’t name because the matter is sub-judice, who came into my office and spoke about these allegations. It has nothing to do with Sars at all,” Smalle said.
He said the DA’s federal council leadership took the right path by halting the elective conference, as the fraud and tax evasion allegations would have had implications for the outcome of the elections and for holding a free and fair leadership contest.
“I’m going to clear my name and then give an opportunity to certain people in the party who have said things about me to retract themselves. I’m busy with legal processes as we speak and I’m looking forward to sitting in front of any committee to answer,” Smalle added.
The postponement of the conference came after the party failed to act on the allegations levelled against Smalle in a leaked report compiled by the party’s Federal Legal Commission (FLC).
The FLC found that Smalle had avoided paying tax on his travel allowances by arranging for money to be paid into the bank of one of his aides.
“The concern is not so much the use of the third-party bank account, but rather the intent and reasoning behind requesting such an account to be opened. In addition to this, stipends of any nature that relate to travel and subsistence must be paid via payroll as it is additional income from work responsibilities. If sufficient records are kept for expenses then submitting a tax return would not be of concern,” read part of the FLC report.
However, Smalle has questioned the timing of the leaking of the report.
“This interim report was in the hands of the leadership even before I got elected in the national leadership. Now that an external factor saw the report it’s now in the public eye I can’t get elected provincially?”he asked.
Smalle was elected as DA deputy federal chairperson at a national conference in December last year.
Pretoria News understands that the Limpopo DA has since been put under administration until the investigations are complete.
Federal Council deputy chairperson, James Masango and MP Annelie Lotriet have been appointed as joint administrators.
DA spokesperson, Siviwe Gwarube, said she could not comment on matters under investigation but confirmed that the province has been placed under administration with the pair heading it.
“The province will be under administration until a new congress is convened on a new leadership elected. The investigations are ongoing,” Gwarube said.
Yesterday, Malatsi said: “I ran a clean campaign based on integrity and now respect the processes of the party to do what they always do, which is to deal with any matter with all the fairness it always promotes.”
Smalle and Malatsi were vying for the position of Limpopo DA provincial leader, Modimolle/Mookgophong mayor Marlene van Staden and councillor Marie Helm were contenders for the position of provincial deputy leader, while party veteran and DA MP Desiree van de Walt was challenging incumbent Jeffrey Tshibvumo for the position of provincial chairperson.