Democratic Alliance (DA) councillors in Plettenberg Bay on the Cape south coast laid a complaint of fraud against the wife of the deputy mayor after an internal disciplinary process revealed that she had allegedly given herself a salary increase and car allowance about two years ago.
The charge of fraud against current deputy mayor Euan Wildeman’s wife Tanya, was the third set of steps taken against Bitou’s new local government, which is led by an Active United Front (AUF) and African National Congress (ANC) coalition, this week.
The DA had announced on Sunday that it intended to write to the MEC of local government in the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, to request that his office review all senior appointments made at Bitou municipality and specifically to determine whether due process had been followed and whether the chosen candidates were competent.
On Tuesday, the party had also raised concerns over the appointment of a law firm to “duplicate” the municipality’s audit reports by the Auditor-General.
This, the party believes, could cost ratepayers up to R2 million and furthermore that the appointment was allegedly “done illegally”.
The councillors who laid the complaint, including former Bitou mayor and current Eden mayor Memory Booysen, as well as former speaker and current councillor Annelise Olivier, said that on March 24 2014, an internal disciplinary charge relating to the salary increase and car allowance was brought against Tanya Wildeman.
The DA’s constituency head in Bitou, Donald Grant, said that, following this, Tanya Wildeman was dismissed from the Bitou municipality last year.
Grant said since the AUF-ANC coalition took over the reins in August, Tanya Wildeman had been reappointed and, during a recent council meeting, it was proposed that she be appointed as acting head of corporate services while the current head of the department, Alma Greyling, was out of the country.
“Her appointment is illegal in terms of the Municipal Systems Act,” Grant contended.
Olivier said that following the disciplinary process, the matter was never reported to police and therefore they had decided to take action this week.
“It is our duty to report these matters to police,” Booysen said.
However, deputy mayor Euan Wildeman responded to the action, saying that it was the councillors’ right to lay a complaint of this nature, but that his wife had nothing to hide.
He added that she had subsequently appealed her dismissal and that the matter was settled after key witnesses, including her direct superior at the time, failed to testify.
“Justice will take its course and the truth will come out,” Euan Wildeman said.
Municipal spokesman Dumisani Mweba failed to respond to queries about Tanya Wildeman’s reappointment and the proposal to appoint her in the position as acting head of corporate services.
“We have referred queries about these issues to the relevant departments and are awaiting their reply,” Mweba said.
– African News Agency (ANA)