DA councillor Nora Grose steps aside following charges of siphoning Covid-19 funds
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Cape Town – The DA councillor who is being investigated for alleged misappropriation of funds has stepped aside from party duties.
Ward 23 councillor Nora Grose is currently out on R10 000 bail after she appeared in the Atlantis Magistrate’s Court in May for alleged misappropriation of funds meant to assist with food relief.
The Weekend Argus has seen a letter dated August 5 by Constituency head Emma Powell, titled “Stepping aside of Councillor Nora Grose”.
In the letter, Powell details the councillor was charged with fraud and money laundering and she requested to step aside from party duties. Grose will, however, continue her duties as ward councillor and Sub-Council One chairperson.
“Last week Monday, Nora wrote to the Provincial Executive Committee noting that in the best interests of the party, she has voluntarily taken the decision to step aside from Party related activities until such time as she has cleared her name in a Court of Law,” said Powell when asked for comment.
“This has no effect nor bearing on her current position as a Ward Councillor nor the numerous governance relation positions that she occupies, such as that of Sub Council chairperson.”
It remains unclear if she will be participating in caucus matters, if not, it will be interesting to see how she will chair a sub-council without consulting her party members.
DA’s PEC chairperson Jaco Londt did not respond to questions sent to him about this and why did it take Grose to step aside and not the party’s PEC.
The Weekend Argus revealed in June from its investigations that South African Religious Civic Organisation (Sarco) received up to R186 697 from the City’s humanitarian fund, which was meant to provide food parcels in Atlantis, but instead, the money was allegedly channelled to a church in Table View with ties to councillor Grose and Plato.
Sarco received this money, despite only qualifying and being approved to receive R14 919.
In emails seen by the paper, Grose requested R171 778 be transferred to Life Changers’ account leaving Sarco with the R14 919 they qualified for. Life Changers has since paid back R54 328.06 and it is not clear why the money was paid back if they qualified for it.
The church was used by mayor Dan Plato to launch his mayoral campaign and it is alleged that Covid-19 relief funds were used to fund his campaign.
ANC chief whip Noluthando Makasi said it did not make sense why the councillor would only step aside from her party and not in council.
“We are going to pursue the fact that if she stepped aside as a DA member, she stepped aside in council too. She represents the DA and is facing charges as a council member, not as a DA member.”
GOOD Party secretary-general Brett Herron said: “If this is the DA’s version of the ANC’s ’step aside’ rule then it’s embarrassing. The DA has no credibility and can step off their soapbox from where they call for ANC office bearers to step down or be fired when they face serious criminal charges involving public funds or even other crimes unrelated to occupying a government office.
“If the DA was credible and consistent they would oppose the public having to pay for Grose’s legal fees too. It’s absurd that we’re paying to defend her from charges that involve the unlawful and dishonest handling of our public fund.”