Tshwane ANC regional chairperson, Kgosi Maepa, on Tuesday said the party had received evidence indicating that the DA had two fraudulent and illegal ward councillors who have been receiving salaries for council work, but no longer stayed in Tshwane and Gauteng.
“Information in our possession indicates that councillor Ernst Botha [Ward 44, Pretoria East] has emigrated and now resides in Oceania, New Zealand. Councillor Johan Welmans [Ward 99, Cullinan, Refilwe in Metsweding] is now residing in the Western Cape and our information indicates that he sold his Tshwane property in 2020. We also know that councillor Welmans has resigned from the DA to join a new right-wing political party,” Maepa said in a statement.
Maepa said this was illegal as the Electoral Act required ward councillors to live within the boundaries of a municipality where they were elected to serve in.
“A ward councillor is elected by residents in a specific geographically-defined ward of a municipality. Therefore, the ward councillor represents those residents and is expected to take their concerns to the municipal council.
“Ward councillors are also expected to hold regular public meetings within the ward and can interact directly with any interest group – even if that group is not represented on the ward committee,” he said.
The Tshwane ANC regional chair said they had on numerous occasions asked the DA chief whip Christo van Heever whether the two councillors resided in Tshwane, but he had deliberately misled council on this.
“Councillor Van den Heever repeatedly misled council by indicating that the two did not leave their original residences and are still in the DA council caucus as elected councillors,” Maepa said.
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“It needs to be further mentioned that their continued participation through virtual links during council meetings, purporting to be still in Tshwane, is not only misleading but criminally malicious.”
Maepa said the ANC would lay criminal complaints with the Hawks against Welmans and Botha.
“We will also press charges against DA chief whip councillor Christo van der Heever and speaker, Katlego Mathebe for deliberately misleading council. The ANC caucus will furthermore seek legal advice and go to the public protector,” he said.
The Gauteng DA has dismissed the claims by the ANC, saying that Welmans remained a Tshwane councillor and Botha resigned and was serving his notice from New Zealand.