Williams must repay illegally spent gantries money

By Cllr Retief Odendaal, DA Metro Caucus Leader of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality:

The Democratic Alliance will be submitting a motion to the Municipal Public Accounts Committee of NMB to summon Roland Williams before it, and that he be ordered to pay back every cent of the money he illegally spent on advertising gantries in 2010, and all associated costs.

The DA notes with serious concern the light sanction that has been imposed upon Roland Williams by NMBM Chief Operations Officer Mzawke Clay in this illegal gantries saga, and will not accept this light sanction as appropriate. It can never be accepted that an official who blatantly broke numerous regulations and laws can be allowed to escape with a mere counseling session.

The controversial advertising gantries were erected illegally prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Port Elizabeth High Court ruled as such in this matter.

The disregard for our own municipal by-laws in erecting the gantries deserves harsh sanction, yet the political protection afforded to Williams by ANC politicians over the years seems to have him off the hook for now.

It is time this protection stops. Apart from the gantries matter, the Democratic Alliance will also press for answers on the all-expenses-paid golfing trip to Paarl by Williams and a co-worker in 2014 where it is alleged that Paarl Media subsequently benefited, through a R7.8 million tender from the NMBM Communications Department to print the Ubuntu Magazine. Where Williams goes, scandal follows.

If this action against Roland Williams is blocked by the ANC, Mayor Danny Jordaan’s utterances about fighting corruption and rooting out undesirable officials will be exposed as nothing more than misleading the public. This is indeed a pertinent test of Mayor Jordaan and will show his true colours.

Danny Jordaan has been deployed to his position as mayor by the ANC, the very party that is responsible for the mess in which the city finds itself – he is an ANC Mayor, who presides over and ANC government that has failed the people of Nelson Mandela Bay.

The Democratic Alliance will therefore relentlessly pursue the recovery of fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the gantries scandal, as we believe that millions of rands were wasted in legal fees and damages awarded. In terms of Section 32 of the Municipal Finance Management Act, we will be calling for the recovery of all wasted expenditure from the officials who are responsible.

We will further be submitting pointed questions, to demand answers on the all-expenses-paid Paarl trip by Williams and a co-worker in 2014.

In a fair society, all should be held to account and measured according to the same yardstick with no favours granted simply because of political affiliations. A DA government in Nelson Mandela Bay will deal decisively with instances such as the above in swift and fair manner, and afford no political protection to anyone who is found to have contravened any laws of our country.

The DA is set on winning Nelson Mandela Bay in the 2016 elections, and will bring a fair and accountable government to Nelson Mandela Bay.