DA Cape Agulhas Mayor faces removal after being found guilty of misconduct

Cape Agulhas DA mayor Paul Swart. Picture: Facebook/Executive Mayor Paul Swart. file image

Cape Agulhas DA mayor Paul Swart. Picture: Facebook/Executive Mayor Paul Swart. file image

Published May 25, 2024


Cape Town - DA Cape Agulhas Executive Mayor, Paul Swart has been found guilty of misconduct and will be facing removal following a disciplinary hearing.

In 2022, opposition councillors submitted a motion of no confidence in Swart to the municipal manager.

The investigation centred around a payment of R30 000 that Swart had transferred to Elim Community Trust in March 2021 while being a property owner in Elim which makes him a beneficiary of the trust.

In a 10 page report, the outcome of the disciplinary hearing of Swart, the Executive Mayor, Cape Agulhas Municipality has been made public. It was revealed that the funds had been used to build an Arts and Craft Centre and to refurbish the guest house.

Elim Trust had not been registered as a business with the municipality.

A committee was set up for Swart’s disciplinary hearings which were held over two days.

Swart was represented by Anton Coetzee and was found guilty of two charges relating to his misconduct as a councillor where he had been in his position for nine years.

The committee recommended that the MEC for Local Government remove him as a councillor.

Three committee members made the recommendation while a fourth suggested suspension.

Swart, in relation to his first charge is alleged to have failed to disclose an interest in the Elim Morawiese Gemeenskap Trust to the Council or one of the committees, as in accordance with the councillors code of conduct and that he had not performed his duties in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act, relating to his responsibilities as a Mayor.

Swart pleaded not guilty to both of the charges.

Two witnesses were called on behalf of the Municipality, that of the previous Chief Financial Officer including Blackie Swart.

During evidence, it was that Swart was the founder of the Elim Morawiese Gemeenskaps Trust in 2007 and that he had stopped being a trustee in 2016 but that he had still owned property in Elim, making him a beneficiary of it the (Trust).

The report revealed Swart had failed to disclose his interest as a beneficiary.

Via email correspondence, it also revealed Swart had confirmed the money had been paid into the account of the Overseers Council from which it was transferred to the Elim Trust.

His lawyer argued Swart had not been part of the Mayco and that it had been the decision of the Mayco to allocate funding for marketing.

But it was later revealed that according to records, Swart himself was the chairperson of the Mayco who had signed off the minutes of the meeting on the day in question.

“He was clearly an integral part of the decision,” the report states.

After conclusion, the decision was made that he was guilty of the charges.

Swart chose not to testify or to call any witnesses.