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Corruption charges laid against DA Kouga over alleged illegal donations to AfriForum

By Afikile Lugunya - Jan 17, 2019
Corruption charges laid against DA Kouga over alleged illegal donations to AfriForum

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Kouga Local Municipality is now under investigation for mismanagement of public funds and corruption by the Jeffrey's Bay Commercial Crimes Unit after a former African National Congress (ANC) Councillor, Phumzile Oliphant, laid criminal charges against the party.

Oliphant opened a case against the DA on Wednesday at the Jeffrey's Bay police station.

According to Oliphant, public funds were mismanaged in 2009/2010 when "the then regime introduced a ward-based fund with the aim of assisting various wards to attend to the immediate challenges confronting communities."

Oliphant said that, at the time, the approved amount was R100 000 per Ward.  

He said that the funds were supposed to be used towards supporting local SMME’s, programmes for the elderly, education, sports and recreation, emerging farming etc.

"However, this fund had to be stopped as per recommendation of the Auditor-General due to lack of provision for it in the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA),” Oliphant described.

“It was the finding of the Auditor-General's office that the continuation of this fund will be viewed as fruitless and wasteful expenditure."

Oliphant said that the DA, when it took over the municipality after the 2016 Local Government Elections, re-introduced this fund in direct contravention of the finding and ruling of the Auditor-General’s office

‘Fund has been used for donations to AfriForum’

Oliphant then provided a graph from his findings, which shows that the money that was supposed to be used for community development (even against the ruling by the AG) was allegedly paid to AfriForum as donations.

The graph alleges that payments of R82 000 and R88 000 were paid from Wards 3 and 11, allegedly to AfriForum. The graph, does not, however, show the dates of the alleged payments.

"It should be noted with regret and dismay that two of the ward councillors donated huge amounts from their R100 000 to AfriForum," he described.

"The donation of these funds to AfriForum by the two councillors is a direct contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) as it makes no provision for bodies like the AfriForum to benefit through donations from the public purse. 

“Clarity is required as to what AfriForum has to do with Ward development.

"It's clear that these councillors used public funds to assist AfriForum in pursuance of its hostile agenda against our government.”

‘Kouga Local Municipality Executive Mayor and the Municipal Manager equally liable’

“It is my view that these councillors must account in a court of law for this. It must, further, be understood that the Executive Mayor, as the political head, is equally accountable as the buck stops with him,” Olphants said. 

"The Municipal Manager, as the Head of Administration, according to the Municipal Structures Act, is the accounting officer and is supposed to give guidance to council.

“He, too, must be held responsible.

"The Chief Financial Officer shouldn’t have implemented and/or processed the donation to AfriForum.  These actions must be accounted for.

"It is on these grounds that I have decided to open a case against these individuals as I cannot allow the DA-led council to steal from government to fund a body which has absolutely nothing to do with the development of our people.”

Meanwhile, police spokesperson, Captain Gerda Swart, confirmed to RNEWS that indeed the case was opened for investigation with local police on Wednesday morning.

"However, I cannot confirm when it will be in court as the case was only opened yesterday and a full investigation needs to be done," she added.

Image: Former African National Congress (ANC) Councillor, Phumzile Oliphant, says the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Kouga Local Municipality has a case to answer.

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