PUBLIC Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found MEC Anton Bredell (pictured) in breach of Executive Code of Ethics. Picture: Sam Clark
PUBLIC Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found MEC Anton Bredell (pictured) in breach of Executive Code of Ethics. Picture: Sam Clark

Western Cape MEC in breach of Executive Code of Ethics, says public protector

By Velani Ludidi Time of article published Oct 23, 2021

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Cape Town - The Office of the Public Protector has found Western Cape MEC for Local Government Anton Bredell in breach of the Executive Code of Ethics, and that he exposed himself to the risk of a conflict between his official responsibilities as MEC, and his private interest as a member of the DA.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane made the announcement on Friday and the finding was part of six reports, which touch on service delivery, public procurement, and executive ethics.

The complaint against Bredell was lodged by GOOD secretary-general and member of the Western Cape Parliament Brett Herron, in 2019.

Herron complained that the former mayor of the Oudtshoorn Municipality Colan Sylvester alerted Bredell to several allegations of maladministration, fraud, and corruption, on the part of the municipality, in March 2019, and that Bredell did not respond to the letter from March 2019, until January 2020.

“From the independent investigation of the allegations commissioned by the municipality, it appeared that there were valid reasons for concerns, brought to the MEC’s attention by the former executive mayor,” read the complaint from Herron.

He further alleged that Bredell addressed DA councillors in the municipality on December 12, 2019, and proposed that they should agree that the provincial government places the municipality “under administration”.

“We found that, indeed, MEC Bredell failed to take timeous appropriate action, in connection with allegations of improper conduct against officials of the municipality, when he was requested to do so by the former executive mayor on March 11, 2019,” read the statement from Mkhwebane.

The public protector further said that Bredell’s first formal response to the serious allegations of misconduct and impropriety at the municipality, 10 months after having received the letter of March 11, 2019, from a person in the position of the executive mayor, does not indicate diligence and promptness on his part, to attend thereto and, at least, to obtain more information or a response from the municipality, to the serious allegations.

“The MEC’s conduct was improper and in violation of the provision of section 136 (2)(b) of the Constitution. It also constitutes a breach of paragraphs 2.1(a), 2.1(b), 2.1(c), 2.1(d) and 2.3(c) of the Executive Ethics Code,” said Mkhwebane

Bredell’s spokesperson James-Brent Styan said they have not seen the report.

“It would be very nice to see the final report that the public protector is referring to in her media statement. We haven’t received the report yet and cannot comment on a document we haven’t seen. We find the timing and the release of her decision, in a statement to the media, interesting. This happened without alerting us or providing us with the report. We will respond once we have seen the report,” said Styan.

In another complaint, Herron complained that Premier Alan Winde failed to act on allegations of improper conduct by Bredell, which were brought to his attention by Sylvester.

Mkhwebane found that the allegation, that Winde failed to act, was not substantiated, but further found that the statements made by Winde, to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), in connection with the proposal made by MEC Bredell, to DA councillors, –that they should agree that the municipality be placed under administration – were improper.

“His statements were, therefore, not in the best interest of good governance and not consistent with what is expected of a person with the position of a premier. He, therefore, acted in breach of section 136(2) (b) of the Constitution, and paragraphs 2.1(c) and (d), and 2.3(c) of the Executive Ethics Code,” said Mkhwebane.

To remedy the breach of the Executive Ethics Code, Mkhwebane said the President must, in terms of section 3(5)(2)(b) of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act, submit a copy of this report, and any comments thereon, to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) within a reasonable time, but not later than 14 days after receiving the report.

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