Patricia de Lille said she had evidence of corruption in the DA-led George municipality that she had compared with the alleged looting of VBS Bank.
On 702 this morning, she hit back at suggestions that she had timed her publicising of the alleged scandal for elections.
De Lille said a “whistleblower” handed her a forensic report showing that R350 million of the municipality’s reserve funds were invested in financial institutions, resulting in nearly R400,000 in kickbacks for the son of a George councillor.
The Hawks raided the municipal officers in George, De Lille said on 702 this morning, and in addition, she has now laid a complaint with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and handed over evidence, including the report.
The report alleges that the chief financial officer of the George municipality appointed Old Mutual Wealth as the investment manager of the municipality without following the correct supply chain procedures.
It further alleges that the son of a George councillor benefited financially from this deal, and that a cover-up took place in an attempt to stop these allegations from coming to light.
De Lille said the report recommended that legal action should be taken against both the councillor and the chief financial officer, but that the DA had not acted against the councillor and that the chief financial officer was suspended pending an investigation but was now back at work.
On 702 this morning, De Lille repeated her assertion, reported in EWN yesterday, that she believed there were parallels between this matter and the VBS Bank saga.
When host Bongani Bingwa brought up the timing of the allegations, weeks before elections, De Lille said she had a record of fighting against corruption that spanned 25 years and that people should respect “whistleblowers” and not “attack the messenger” when allegations of corruption emerged.
Western Cape MEC for local government, environmental affairs and development planning Anton Bredell has hit back at De Lille’s claims in a statement, calling the allegations “unfounded” and “devoid of fact”.
“If Ms De Lille cared anything for the rule of law, or at the very least cared for the truth, she would have contacted me or the municipality in question to determine the facts first.
“A criminal matter has been reported to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) in George – known as the Hawks – and the provincial department has been in frequent contact with the DPCI in this regard.
“In addition, the municipality has procured the services of a forensic firm to investigate the allegations and the provincial department is further aware that the municipality has in fact, already initiated disciplinary processes against the implicated municipal official.
“While I am fully aware of the election season and the need to score cheap political points by grandstanding, I would urge politicians to act responsibly and at the very least, desist from spreading unverified rumours. It’s simply not a good idea.
“In the Western Cape, we believe in sticking to the rule of law and not play-acting in the court of public opinion,” concluded Bredell.