South Africa

WESTERN CAPE

ANC lays complaint with public protector against DA

ANC lays complaint with public protector against DA
Cameron Dugmore (Photo: Gallo Images/Denzil Maregele) / Anton Bredell (Photo: Gallo Images/Netwerk24/Adrian de Kock) /

The ANC has accused the Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Anton Bredell, of interfering in the appointment of a director of corporate services at the George municipality, where the DA is locked in a battle to remove its own mayor.

 The ANC’s Cameron Dugmore, leader of the official opposition in the Western Cape, yesterday laid a complaint with the public protector’s office against the MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, Anton Bredell.

Dugmore accused Bredell of trying to interfere with the appointment of a director of corporate services in George in 2018.

In a letter dated 8 May 2018 that was leaked to the ANC from within the DA George caucus and handed to the public protector yesterday, Bredell, in his capacity as provincial chairperson of the DA, wrote to the acting mayor, speaker, chief whip and caucus chair:

“You are kindly requested not to proceed with the appointment unless you have permission from the Federal Office. You are aware that appointments need to be signed off by the FEDEX [the DA’s highest decision-making body].”

Although it isn’t directly stated in the letter that this is in reference to the George municipality, Dugmore told journalists at a press briefing on Wednesday the party had “established without reasonable doubt that this is George”. 

The DA is trying to get rid of its own mayor, Melvin Naik, in George. 

“The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to George Mayor Melvin Naik requiring him to resign from the office of the mayoralty within 48 hours. Should Mr Naik refuse to do so by close of business on 12 February 2020, his membership of the Democratic Alliance will cease, and he will no longer be a municipal councillor in George,” said DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis, the constituency head of George. 

On 13 February, the DA terminated Naik’s membership, thus removing him as councillor. Deputy mayor Charlotte Clarke is stepping in as acting mayor while a new mayor is being sought. 

In his complaint to the public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Dugmore states: “It is our considered view that the contents of this letter constitute a serious breach of the Executive Members Act and the Executive Ethics Code by MEC Bredell.”

One month before Bredell’s letter – on 4 April 2018 – Graham Paulse, head of the Department of Local Government, wrote to the George municipal manager stating that their selection panel had recommended a white candidate,  “Mr MAD Roodman”. Paulse said Roodman should not be appointed, in line with the Employment Equity Act, where the municipality “has a duty to implement affirmative action measures for people from designated groups”. 

According to Paulse’s letter, “It is notable that the race and gender profile target of African male(s) under the ‘Municipal Manager and Senior Manager’ level has not been achieved.”

According to the George Herald, the selection panel had voted for the appointment of Theo Roodman (“Mr MAD Roodman”), but the caucus had wanted Sphiwe James, a black man who at that point had been acting director of corporate services, to be appointed. 

Dugmore said the ANC wants Bredell suspended by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde while the complaint is investigated. 

The provincial communications manager for the DA, Odette Carson, told Daily Maverick: “There is a letter that was sent to the DA caucus in George, by the DA Western Cape chairperson and not in any official government capacity.” 

As for Dugmore’s claim of a conflict of interest, Carson said, “No, it is not a conflict of interest given that, per this letter, Mr Bredell was clearly acting in his capacity as chairperson of the DA in the province to members of the DA caucus in George. Mr Bredell acted on the instruction of his party in terms of his federal council regulations.” 

Oupa Segalwe, spokesperson for the public protector, confirmed to Daily Maverick that the complaint had been laid. 

Segalwe said, “The [Public Protector] Act requires the public protector to complete the investigation in 30 days. But it also provides that should the public protector not be in a position to finalise the matter in 30 days, she must inform the premier and report whenever the matter is finalised.” DM

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