Kouga Mayor dismisses corruption charges as ‘baseless and easy to disprove’

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Kouga Mayor dismisses corruption charges as ‘baseless and easy to disprove’

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Port Elizabeth

By Afikile Lugunya – Jan 18, 2019Kouga Local Municipality Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, on Friday called criminal charges brought by a former African National Congress (ANC) Councillor, Phumzile Oliphant, against his party – the Democratic Alliance (DA), ‘baseless and easy to disprove’.Oliphant on Wednesday went to the Jeffreys Bay police station where he opened a case of corruption against the DA in the Kouga region and also said that Hendricks, as Mayor, has a case to answer.He alleged that two DA councillors in the Kouga Local Municipality had used public funds from a fund apparently that was deemed illegal by the Auditor-General to make donations to AfriForum to boost its alleged efforts to destabilise government.“Mr Oliphant’s accusations are baseless and easy to disprove,” Hendricks told RNEWS.”He clearly made no effort to verify the facts before going to the media.”Corruption charges laid against DA Kouga over alleged illegal donations to AfriForumHendricks also denied the allegations that public funds were channeled to AfriForum to further the organisation’s activities.However, he said that the money was used for “a roadworks project, jointly undertaken by the municipality, AfriForum and the East Cape Department of Public Works”.“The project was the widening of St Francis Road, a road which becomes heavily congested over holiday periods. The roadworks brought considerable relief to motorists this past festive season,” the Mayor explained.“The total project cost amounted to R430 000, of which the municipality contributed R220 000.“The monies paid over to AfriForum were the municipality’s contribution to the project. AfriForum funded the remainder – in other words, they did not make money from the project.”‘Oliphant’s claims that DA Kouga channeled monies to AfriForum are incorrect’Hendricks said that Oliphant’s claims show that he didn’t read a policy that regulates the use of the Ward Development Fund (WDF).“His claim that the Auditor-General ‘disapproved’ the fund is also incorrect,” the Mayor said.“Contrary to Mr Oliphant’s claim, there was, therefore, no misappropriation of funds.”Hendricks described Oliphant’s efforts as a “waste of time and waste of money of both the police and courts”.According to Hendricks the following are the facts of what really happened:The Auditor General stopped the ANC-led Council from having so-called “discretionary funds” such as the WDF as they failed to adopt a policy to guide its implementation.The DA-led council, however, corrected this and put a policy and the necessary controls in place, allowing the Kouga Local Municipality to reintroduce this fund to the benefit of all communities.The joint project with AfriForum and Eastern Cape Public Works “was 100% in line with the policy, as adopted unanimously by the full council”.The roadworks were also approved by the Eastern Cape Department of Public Works, whose go-ahead was necessary as St Francis Road is a provincial road. It is the prerogative of the ward councillors, in consultation with their ward committees and communities, to identify projects for their wards to be funded through the WDF. “The project was approved by both Wards 3 and 11 for funding from their annual R100 000 allocation and authorised by the Speaker of Council.”Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.

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