MEC Anton Bredell Applauds Verdict on Irregular Expenditure in Matzikama Municipality

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On June 23, 2023, the Special Tribunal of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) announced its decision in the case of Special Investigating Unit and Matzikama Municipality v Duneco CC and 4 Others (Case No WC/05/22). Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, welcomes the verdict, which has revealed severe misconduct by several municipal officials.

Accountability of Municipal Officials

The judgment implicates several officials from the Matzikama Municipality, including the acting Municipal Manager, Mr A. Hendricks, the Municipality’s COVID-19 Coordinator, Mr I.E. Jenner, and the Chief Financial Officer, Mr J. Booysen. Additionally, Mr N.J. Klazen, a representative of the service provider that supplied personal protection equipment (PPE), was found to be involved in irregular expenditure amounting to approximately R400,000. The Special Tribunal has ruled that these officials must repay the sum personally.

SIU Investigation and Recovery Process

This landmark judgment is the result of the SIU’s thorough investigation into the matter. Minister Bredell has been consulting with the Matzikama Municipality on the findings and recommendations of the investigation. The SIU launched civil proceedings against the implicated officials to recover the irregular expenditure.

Ongoing Criminal Proceedings

While the Special Tribunal has ruled on civil recovery, the Hawks are still conducting ongoing criminal proceedings. The officials were arrested and charged in 2022. The criminal trial is scheduled for July 2023, and Minister Bredell is keenly awaiting the outcome to determine if convicted and sentenced individuals will be prohibited from re-employment in a municipality.

Minister Bredell’s Inquiry

Minister Bredell has concluded his own inquiry, which was initiated under section 106 of the Municipal Systems Act, 32 of 2000. He is presently scrutinizing five reports prepared by independent forensic investigators and intends to release them soon.

Continuing Monitoring

Minister Bredell will continue to monitor both the civil recovery process led by the SIU and the ongoing criminal proceedings led by the Hawks. If there are any further negative findings or criminal convictions, the Minister will take appropriate action within his powers under the Constitution and the local government legislative framework.

Importance of Transparency and Accountability

The case highlights the importance of transparency and accountability in the public sector. The judgment has already had a considerable impact on the fight against corruption and the misuse of public funds, especially during a global health crisis. The forthcoming release of the Minister’s investigative reports promises to provide more insights into the Matzikama Municipality’s practices.

Acknowledgement of the Efforts

It is critical to acknowledge the efforts of the SIU, the Hawks, and Minister Bredell in their pursuit of justice and their commitment to upholding the integrity of public service. Their dedication serves as a reminder of the significance of transparency, accountability, and the rule of law, not only in South Africa but worldwide.

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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