Shielded Hantam councillor – DA hopes justice will still prevail

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Leader

The Democratic Alliance hopes that a scheduled visit by Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela to the Hantam municipality in March this year will finally see justice takes its course.

This comes after the DA handed over a docket, pertaining to fraud committed by an ANC councillor, to the Public Protector in August last year. The councillor is alleged to have pocketed R11 300, which should have gone towards special projects in the municipality.

The allegations came to light after the council investigated complaints made by the rightful beneficiaries of the funds. Hantam’s DA mayor, Abrie Fritz, then laid criminal charges against the councillor. He also wrote to MEC Kenneth Mmoeimang asking him to fire the councillor but this letter was not responded to. He further wrote to the Acting Premier and the Minister of Cooperative Governance, to no avail.

The pocketed funds have since been retrieved but this doesn’t make matters right. In fact, it simply indicates an indirect admission of guilt. The DA thus believes that the said councillor is being protected by top government officials. We are also of the opinion that this is yet another “John Block-like” case, whereby unscrupulous politicians are shielded for their own self-interests whilst the principles of good governance and accountability fall by the wayside. This can be seen in Moeimang’s previous statement (made at the session with the Public Protector on 8 August 2012), in which he said that the councillor concerned could not be held responsible because he earned less than what was stolen.

The DA is aware that the criminal case is still pending. Given all the facts, this should not, however, stand in the way of the MEC firing the said councillor.

The DA sincerely hopes that Madonsela will soon announce the outcome of her investigation into this matter. Maybe then the upper levels of government will take note, and justice can finally start to take its course.

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