OPINION

So why is the Mayor of Swellendam still in his job? - Max Ozinsky

ANC MPL says DA WCape leader Theuns Botha is trying to deflect attention

Member statement by Max Ozinsky (ANC-MPL) on Swellendam in the Western Cape Provincial Legislature, March 8 2011

Last Thursday very serious allegations were made by two former municipal managers in Swellendam, about the activities of the mayor and the DA-ID coalition.

These are not allegations from the ANC, they are allegations from the people who were responsible for implementing the council decisions.

Both were appointed to their positions by the ruling DA-ID coalition. Both have been removed by the same DA-ID coalition.

The allegations are not new. The collapse of the municipality began in 2008 and in the 2008/09 financial year the municipality received a disclaimer. Council officials, ratepayers association and ordinary citizens have been raising these issues since then, including with Premier Helen Zille.

The Premier, MEC Theuns Botha and the MEC for local government Anton Bredell have been aware of this issue for a long time, but only started to act late last year, when it became clear that Scopa would deal with the matter.

Instead of trying to deal with the allegations, the DA-ID through its provincial leader Botha is doing their best to try and deflect attention away from the real issues.

Issues raised include that the mayor, who is still in place representing the ID and DA, tried to force 2 municipal managers to contravene the MFMA and other legislation, to appoint certain individuals and companies in the municipality.

Mr Hendricks mentioned to Scopa a meeting he was called to in Suurbraak, where the Mayor and another ID councillor Keets, two other officials of the municipality and six ID members were present. Here he was told to appoint three ID members to work for the municipality.

Mr Hendricks says that the mayor also forced him to invest council reserves, taxpayer's money, in a company called Quadrix Asset Management. Initially the council approved an investment of R2 million, but the mayor apparently tried to force him to invest R20 million. In the end R6 million was invested, three times the amount authorised by the council resolution.

It was also alleged in Scopa that Quadrix Asset Management has close links with the Independent Democrats, the alliance partner of the DA.

It was alleged that ID politicians were involved in this investment, that the company had a link on the ID website and that the contribution of ID councillors from their salary to their party were paid to this company.

Mr Hendricks refused to do this, put this in writing as expected of an official, and then lost his job because of a decision of the DA and ID councillors.

Mr Nico Nel was appointed municipal manager in Mr Hendrick's place by the DA and ID councillors. He admitted that the position was never advertised which is unconstitutional and unlawful! He confirms the above facts and called for an investigation into the matter.

These allegations, and the many others about the administrative and financial state of the municipality, which received a disclaimer from the Auditor-General, are very serious. It would seem that the ID leadership, in particular Patricia de Lille, as well as the DA leadership not only have to explain the activities of their councillors and other appointees, but also their own role in this matter. In particular what is the link between Quadrix Asset Management and the ID?

I would suggest Botha focus on the serious issues that have been raised rather than trying to cast false aspersions on others.

Issued by the ANC Western Cape, March 8 2011

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