IRREGULAR appointments of staff, questionable tenders and the suspension of senior management at Theewaterskloof municipality are among a slew of allegations the MEC for
Local Government is demanding answers to.
MEC Anton Bredell wrote to the municipality this month demanding that it provide substantiated responses to four allegations that have surfaced relating to maladministration, corruption and possible fraud.
The allegations relate to the irregular appointment of nine individuals, the payment of acting allowances to the communications manager, Hugo Geldenhuys, as well as the suspension of Francois van der Westhuizen, deputy director of finance, and Ashley Hendricks who served as the manager for supply chain management.
“It is alleged that Mr Van der Westhuizen and Mr Hendricks are being victimised and have been irregularly suspended without proper justification or without prescribed processes being followed,” reads the letter.
“It is further alleged that these suspended officials are in strategic positions at the municipality and their suspensions were initiated in order to replace them with inexperienced and unqualified individuals with a mandate to irregularly process and approve certain transactions.”
One of these nine individuals the municipality is accused of hiring irregularly include Jonas White, Mayor Karel Papier’s adviser.
White was stripped of his title as Cederberg mayor and suspended from the ANC back in 2013 after he was accused of sending pornographic text messages to his then-deputy and of sexually harassing two girls aged 15 and 16.
White then started his own political party before joining the Patriotic Alliance (PA). He was removed from the PA’s candidates list as he was still standing trial for fraud.
Bredell also wanted answers about a tender that was irregularly awarded to the service provider Agito Minds. This was for the facilitation of “strategic sessions and development of a short-term implementation plan”.
Bredell in his letter said the company was not the lowest bid the municipality received and that the person who ended up presenting the session was not even affiliated with Agito but did so at the “interference of the mayor and municipal manager”.
With regards to Geldenhuys, Bredell requested that he be furnished with financial records relating to the acting allowances paid to Geldenhuys over the last three financial years.
“It is alleged that Mr (Daniel) Lubbe, in his capacity as the municipal manager, irregularly awarded Mr Geldenhuys benefits that he was not entitled to receive,” reads the letter.
In a response, the municipality’s speaker, Derrick Appel, shot down the allegations, stating that there was no evidence to back up the claims.
“Unfortunately, the allegations you present us are not substantiated or supported by any evidence,” Appel’s letter reads.
“In order for us to respond comprehensively and take action, there needs to be prima facie evidence of misconduct on the part of any employee or office bearer.
“We request that the MEC provides us with the information that supports the allegations he received.
“As far as we are aware there’s no maladministration, corruption, fraud and/or other serious malpractice that has occurred, or is occurring at the Theewaterskloof municipality.”
Bredell’s spokesperson, Wouter Kriel, confirmed that the MEC received the municipality’s response.