Cape Town DA councillor Nora Grose was granted R10,000 bail by the Atlantis Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, reports Newzroom Afrika.
She was charged with fraud and money laundering and is expected back in court next month.
Grose handed herself over to the Atlantis police station in connection with the alleged diversion of Covid-19 relief funds and food parcels.
Her arrest follows an investigation by the Hawks into allegations of money laundering involving DA councillors, an NGO and a church in Cape Town.
The allegations were raised by Good party member Brett Herron last month.
According to Heron, it all started with a supposed directive from the city of Cape Town last year asking councillors to identify humanitarian organisations to allocate funds to, supposedly for food relief.
Heron warned of a supposed conduit transaction scheme involving R170,000, which he feared was just the tip of the iceberg.
“Allegations that these funds were used for purposes other than food relief are false and blatant political opportunism. Grant-in-aid funding is fully audited and strictly administered by an open and transparent process by the city’s urban management directorate,” the city said in a statement.
It said it had allocated close to R39 million to an emergency food relief programme that benefitted 260 soup kitchens.
“More than 200,000 residents now receive a daily warm meal from these soup kitchens,” the city said.
“The city dismisses continued misinformation by a member of the provincial legislature around food relief support to registered organisations. All funds spent on humanitarian relief are fully audited, allocated 100% in line with the city’s supply chain process. And not subject to political interference in any way.”
The ANC caucus in Cape Town has called on Grose to step down immediately.
“We want answers urgently on the matter which we believe allegedly pertains to Covid-19 relief funds. We also want to know what steps have been taken to hold implicated parties to account. These relief funds were meant for the poor and we are aggrieved by these allegations,” spokesperson Fiona Abrahams said in a statement.
Additional reporting by Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni