Inquiry into Alleged Misconduct of Municipal Councillors in Knysna Local Municipality

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knysna local municipality municipal councillors

Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs, and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, has initiated an inquiry into allegations of misconduct among various councillors within the Knysna Local Municipality. This action follows a Western Cape High Court ruling on November 25th, 2022, in which several councillors were accused of serious wrongdoing, including the creation of unlawful positions within the municipality’s office of political office bearers, appointment of individuals to these positions, and the approval of payment for them.

High Court Ruling

The High Court ruling revealed that these councillors ignored legal advice from an external law firm that had advised them against such actions. The conduct of the Deputy Mayor and other councillors was particularly concerning, with Judge Henney highlighting the Deputy Mayor’s dishonesty in his affidavit, stating that the contradictory evidence provided was a clear attempt to mislead the court.

Consequences

The court found that the actions of the Executive Mayor, Deputy Mayor, governing coalition members, and specific senior municipal officials contravened the heightened duty that public officials must uphold in the government. However, due to the number of implicated councillors, Bredell was advised that it would be inappropriate for the municipality to establish a special committee of the Municipal Council to investigate these allegations, as prescribed in Item 15(5) of the Code of Conduct.

Appointment of Independent Committee

To avoid any conflicts of interest, Bredell has exercised his powers under Item 16(5)-(8) of the Code to appoint an independent committee to investigate the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct. This committee will also make recommendations for appropriate remedial actions and/or sanctions, as outlined in subitem 16(2) of the Code. The committee will consist of an advocate of the Cape Bar and an independent forensic investigator, ensuring that the investigation methods are lawful and procedurally fair.

Participation of Implicated Individuals

All individuals implicated in the judgement will be provided an opportunity to engage with the committee regarding its findings before any recommendations are made to Bredell. The Minister has expressed his eagerness to see the municipality’s full cooperation in the investigation and a swift resolution to ensure good governance.

Bredell’s appointment of an independent committee to investigate the alleged misconduct of municipal councillors in Knysna Local Municipality demonstrates his commitment to upholding the integrity of public office and promoting transparency in government. The investigation’s outcome will determine the appropriate remedial actions and possible sanctions for those found to have breached the Code of Conduct, ultimately ensuring the continued pursuit of good governance in the municipality.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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