Elza van Lingen MP
DA Leader, National Council of Provinces
Yesterday, the Democratic Alliance was called, as complainant, to meet with an investigating team from the Anti-Corruption Unit in the Office of MEC Qoboshiyane in Bhisho to launch an investigation in terms of Sec 106 of the Municipal Systems Act on the irregularities and maladministration in Kouga Municipality.
The investigating team under the leadership of Mr Tamsanqa Gxova and Mr Ronald West met with me and the DA caucus leadership to investigate a series of concerns I raised in a letter to the MEC in June 2012.
The terms of reference of the investigation include
- The illegal appointment of the Municipal Manager, Mr Sydney Fadi early in 2012;
- The illegal appointment of the section 56 managers or directors on 29 June 2012; and
- Alleged corruption in Kouga Municipality.
The DA contingent made it absolutely clear to the investigating team that the appointment of the directors or section 56 managers cannot be discussed as it is subjudice as the DA is appealing the outcome of the Port Elizabeth High Court ruling in December 2012. The DA will lodge our Heads of Argument in the Supreme Court of Appeal on 18 July 2013 whereupon the Legal Counsel for Kouga Municipality has four weeks to file their Heads of Argument. We hope that a court date will be announced shortly after that. With this in mind the DA refused any debate or investigation on the unlawful appointments of the directors, because MEC Qoboshiyane is fully informed of the current situation as he is as a co-respondent in the DA’s case against Kouga Municipality and therefore served with every document in the case.
The DA further reminded the investigating team of the Auditor General’s investigation specifically assigned by the MEC and subsequent four reports of August 2008 and the Gobodo Forensic Report of 23 February 2011, in which cases the full reports were never tabled in the Kouga Council with the opportunity of granting councillors full access to the documents for scrutiny. No criminal charges were ever brought against any of the perpetrators, in fact there were no consequences at all. The DA now called for a transparent process and full access to the complete report on the current investigations.
The irregularities in Kouga are of such magnitude and gravity that I have already written to the following officials raising a full list of concerns at the time in the first week of April this year:
- Mr Richard Baloyi, Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs;
- Ms Edna Molewa , Minister of Water Affairs re Kouga’s debt for water purchases with the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro;
- Terence Nombembe, the Auditor General re Kouga’ debt and budgets
- The DA Spokespersons for SCOPA, Dr Dion George and Dr Pierre Rabie in Parliament;
- The Public Protector, Ms Thuli Madonsela.
Matters that have cropped up since the first week in April 2013 were also submitted, such as the Auditor General’s Report on the Kouga 2012 Annual Financial Statements. Kouga 2013/2014 Budget, the service delivery protests, the very embarrassing Ratings Afrika Report in the weekend press listing Kouga yet again the poorest performing municipality in the Eastern Cape, the political activities of municipal officials during office hours, the Taurus Gardens tender process for 5000 RDP houses in Kouga, the dirty water in Jeffreys bay and many more.
The DA appreciates the new investigation into the illegal appointment of the municipal manager as well as the alleged fraud and corruption in Kouga Municipality. We will fully cooperate with the anti-corruption team and hope to see a report that will finally and transparently address the matters of concern with the necessary consequences. The DA will follow the process vigilantly.