Tshwane DA councillors reported to Public Protector for ’fraudulently’ earning salaries
Pretoria - Tshwane ANC chairperson and leader in council Dr Kgosi Maepa has asked Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate allegations that two DA councillors have each been earning a R52 000 monthly salary without doing any work.
The official opposition claims Ernst Botha and Johan Welmans are acting out of keeping with the Electoral Act, which stipulates that ward councillors must reside within the area of jurisdiction.
Maepa said his party had evidence that Botha now residing in Oceania, New Zealand, while Welmans was suspected to be in the West Coast, Western Cape after he sold his Tshwane property last year.
He has since pressed criminal charges against the pair at Brooklyn Police Station, and the matter is still under investigation.
In correspondence to the public protector, Maepa said: "It is our plea that the public protector note the fact that these two councillors have illegally and unlawfully drawn salaries from the City of Tshwane, money paid for by revenue collected from innocent residents, but also that the DA was complicit in the action."
Maepa wanted the public protector to assist the people of Tshwane to recoup the money earned by the two councillors since 2020.
Mkhwebane was also asked to urgently attend to the complaint because failure to resolve it speedily "will result in the said councillors continuing to login illegally and voting unlawfully in upcoming council meetings".
The next council is scheduled for next week Thursday.
The public protector was further asked to scrutinise the conduct of Chief Whip Christo van der Heever and Speaker Katlego Mathebe, for deliberately misleading the council that the two councillors did not leave their original residences and were still part of the DA caucus.
Welmans refuted claims that he had a house in Pretoria, saying he rented a flat.
He said he was on a sick leave until February 28 because he has kidney failure. "I am taking treatment for kidney failure and I think they don't have respect for that. My son stays in the Western Cape and that is why I came with him because I couldn't stay alone while I take this treatment. I will be back in Pretoria as soon as I have recovered," he said.
Botha could not be reached because he was rumoured to be abroad in New Zealand.
In defence of the two councillors, DA regional chairperson Mpho Mehlape-Zimu previously dismissed the accusations as “frivolous and cheap politicking”.
She said Botha travelled to New Zealand to support his wife during the past month after he was granted leave in terms of the council's leave policy.
Botha had since tendered his resignation with effect from February 28, 2021, due to family responsibilities.
According to Mehlape-Zimu, Welmans was still a member of the party and would complete his term as a public representative.
She accused the ANC of having run out of ideas on how “to attack and distract the well performing DA-led City administration”.
The Pretoria News reached out to the public protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe to check if the complaint would be probed, but at the time of going to print, there was still no response.