The Stellenbosch municipal building with the adjacent Town Hall building on the left. Picture: Ian Landsberg
Cape Town - Stellenbosch municipality has dropped charges of misconduct against its former director for planning and economic development and “agreed to part ways amicably”, paying his salary and benefits for three months after termination of service.

Dupre Lombaard was to have undergone a disciplinary process after an independent investigator found in November he had a case to answer on allegations involving use of land and misleading the municipal council.

According to advocate Etienne Vermaak’s report, Lombaard should face disciplinary action for misleading and ignoring council resolutions with regards to the Paradyskloof special development area and Vlottenburg mixed-use development project. The council had apparently resolved not to support the projects until a wide community consultation had taken place over Paradyskloof.

Lombaard allegedly misled the council about dates for making comments on the environmental impact study for Vlottenburg and no council comments were sought.

The report recommended disciplinary action over the rezoning of some land which Lombard was not authorised by the council to do.

According to sources, Lombaard was involved in the sale of land which was meant to be a road to Capitec Bank without the council determining the value of the land.

However, municipal manager Geraldine Mettler defended the municipality’s decision to part ways with Lombaard, saying he had a right to resign.

Asked about alleged irregularities in the sale of a portion of erf 9190 Technopark, Mettler said the transaction was above board. “The matter served before the council on April 26, 2017 and the council resolved to dispose of the property and that a reserve price must be determined based on the fair market value,” she said.

The land is next to Capitec Bank’s headquarters and acquiring it gives the financial institution consolidated prime property in Technopark outside Stellenbosch. The bank was the only bidder in the process and offered the municipality R8.55 million for the approximately 2 000m2 of land.

“The land was put on open tender and offers were invited. The tender was advertised and open to any interested parties,” Mettler said, adding that the property was “never zoned as road or road reserve”.

However, sources said the council did not determine the value of the land and the benefit of the sale to the public.

Mettler denied this. “Money raised from the sale will be used for the upgrading of informal settlements,” she said.

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