DA factionalism protecting many from corruption allegations – Brett Herron

GOOD SG says DA suspended George mayor but must also take action against others implicated in corruption

DA factionalism protecting many from corruption allegations

21 January 2020

The DA’s spin that suspending its allegedly corrupt mayor in George restores its integrity in the Southern Cape Town must be taken with a pinch salt.

Today the Democratic Alliance has announced that it intends to suspend the Mayor of George, Melvin Naik, based on what they call a forensic report into fraud, corruption and maladministration.  Naik is to face internal DA disciplinary processes.

In April 2019 GOOD Leader, Patricia De Lille, reported allegations of a corrupt investment practice involving the DA Finance Portfolio, Councillor, Cllr DL (Stag) Cronje, to the Public Protector. These allegations had been brought to the attention of Provincial Minister for Local Government and DA Western Cape Chairperson, Anton Bredell, in July 2018, but he had failed to act.

This investment scheme involved the unlawful investment of R200 million of George Municipal funds with Old Mutual Wealth. 

DA Councillor Cronje facilitated the opportunity for his son, an Old Mutual Mandating Agent, to receive a referral fee of approximately R152 000 for introducing Old Mutual Wealth to George Municipality and its “surplus funds”.

Despite the substantial evidence that supports these allegations, the DA has failed to act against Cronje. 

Cronje continues to serve as the Portfolio Councillor for Finance and has not been suspended by the DA.

In addition, DA Mayoral Committee Member, Noble was alleged to have benefitted from an illegal electricity connection and is estimated to have consumed R38 000 worth of electricity without paying for it.  He is still in arrears with the Municipality – which is unlawful (a councillor may not be in debt to a municipality) – but is yet to face any DA disciplinary procedures or action.

We have previously alerted the Premier to the allegations that current Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers, was also alleged to have benefitted from an illegal electricity connection at this home in George, whilst he was an Eden District Councillor, and consumed R7000 worth of electricity before the connection was discovered by the George Municipality. 

Instead of prosecuting electricity theft and taking action against their public representatives for electricity theft, the DA changed the Electricity Theft policy to prevent the municipality from lodging criminal complaints.  The DA tried to “decriminalise” theft of electricity.

If there is evidence to suggest that Naik is guilty of misconduct then the DA must take action against him. They must also take action against others implicated in corruption.

Handpicking who in the George Municipality to take action against exposes the DA leadership for pursuing factional battles and scrambling to protect patronage within the George Municipality.

Issued by Brett Herron, GOOD member of the Western Cape Legislature, 21 January 2020