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SIU blames ‘leadership instability’ at Kannaland Municipality for failure to act against officials

SIU blames ‘leadership instability’ at Kannaland Municipality for failure to act against officials
Kannaland. (Photo: Steve Kretzmann) | Laingsburg. (Photo: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lulama Zenzile) | Beaufort West. (Photo: Supplied)

Kannaland’s political instability has reared its ugly head once again, this time in a report by the Special Investigating Unit. But it’s not the only Western Cape municipality red-flagged by the unit.

‘The Kannaland Municipality has not instituted disciplinary action against the implicated officials due to the current leadership instability in the municipality,” reads the report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Covid-19 corruption. 

It is the seventh progress report issued by the unit on its investigations into allegations of corruption related to Covid-19 and the National State of Disaster under Proclamation R23 of 2020. 

This is a supplement to and update of the “final” report that the SIU made public in January 2022. It was handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa in July 2022 and was released this week.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Latest SIU report reveals billions more rands of unlawful and dodgy Covid-19 spending exposed” 

In the report, the ongoing issues around the political leadership of Kannaland municipality are once again revealed. It mentions two referrals for disciplinary action, which were reported by 10 December 2021.

Eben van Rooi, the manager: supply chain management, and Pumezo Mgeni, the acting chief financial officer, had been charged with “failure to comply with provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act and provision of the Municipal Systems Act”. 

However, the municipality had not instituted disciplinary action against them due to the “current leadership instability in the municipality”. The SIU said the disciplinary referrals had been hand-delivered to the acting municipal manager, Morne Hoogbaard, on 8 September 2021. 

But in 2022, Hoogbaard is no longer the municipal manager and the municipality’s political leadership has still not become stable – since the 2021 municipal elections there have been three changes in leadership. 

Recently, the municipality’s administration and political leadership appeared before Parliament where all of its leadership issues were laid bare. 

Read in Daily Maverick: “Kannaland’s potholed municipal governance, row over Keith Jordaan appointment play out in Parliament

Cederberg and Matzikama also named in report 

Kannaland is not the only Western Cape Municipality highlighted in the report. 

In the Cederberg Municipality, a municipal manager, a public participation officer and an administration official had referrals by the SIU, for various contraventions of the Municipal Finance Management Act, the Municipal Systems Act and the Cederberg Local Municipality’s supply chain management policy, as well as negligence in the performance of their duties and a failure to declare their relationships with suppliers. 

News24 reported that three individuals were arrested in December 2021 in relation to personal protective equipment (PPE) fraud, stemming from investigations by the SIU. 

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

At the Matzikama Municipality, the report said, the SIU had instituted legal action against the municipality over a matter involving bid manipulation and leaked bid information, which resulted in an unlawful procurement process. “The municipality irregularly concluded a contract with Rural Impact Training Centre, to the value of R650,378, and the matter involves the municipal manager,” it read. 

“The SIU applied to the court to have the contract set aside and recover losses suffered. The respondent filed its opposing affidavit and the SIU its replication on 13 August 2021. The matter is set down for hearing on 3 February 2023.” 

According to the SIU, nine referrals were made to the relevant prosecuting authorities. The SIU names municipal officials Izak Jenner (manager: legal and administration), Aldrich Hendricks (a former municipal manager), Jafta Booysen (a former acting CFO), as well as service providers Jakobus Klazen (CEO of Duneco), Andries Blankenberg (CEO of Rural Impact) and Tarryn Cloete (owner of Tarryn Losper Trading, which provided services to and on behalf of Rural Impact). According to the previous report by the SIU, Blankenberg had failed to disclose a 34-year friendship with Jenner, and Rural Impact was appointed without following due process. 

In an investigation by the SIU, Klazen made misrepresentations by not disclosing his friendship with Hendricks, which the SIU said in its first report was “a possible contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004”. 

Hendricks, Booysen, Jenner and Klazen were arrested in May and released on bail of R5,000 by the Vredendal Magistrates’ Court. 

According to the SIU, Jenner had a referral for disciplinary action. He was charged with “failure to comply with the provision of sections of the Municipal Finance Management Act and Section 2 of the provision of the Municipal Systems Act”. The CapeTimes reported that he was at the centre of a PPE probe and was suspended by the municipal leadership. “Mr Jenner has since resigned from the municipality,” read the SIU report. DM


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