Bitou and Oudtshoorn both a problem child – treasury chief

Swellendam is one of the provincial treasury’s top five “financially problematic” Western Cape municipalities. 

The others are Bitou, Kannaland, Saldanha Bay and Oudtshoorn, according to provincial treasury head Harry Malila. 

Presenting the treasury’s annual report in the legislature, Malila said helping Swellendam to improve its financial controls was “high on the agenda”. 

“The municipality faced many problems with the suspension of the municipal manager (Nico Nel) and other challenges, but those are being resolved now,” he said. 

A row erupted in Swellendam this month after it emerged that the municipality had been collecting rates illegally by failing to comply with procedures in the Municipal Property Rates Act. 

Local Government MEC Anton Bredell said the municipality wanted him to condone its failure to comply with the act, but he refused. 

He said senior officials in his department were dealing with the matter. 

Swellendam is being run by a DA-African Christian Democratic Party coalition. The ANC has accused the DA of a “cover-up” in the “corruption-riddled” municipality. 

The Western Cape standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) and the Special Investigating Unit are probing irregularities and alleged corruption and maladministration in Swellendam. 

ANC MPL Lynne Brown has written to President Jacob Zuma, asking him to intervene. 

Last week, the ANC slammed premier Helen Zille for her “silence” on testimony to Scopa by Swellendam’s former chief financial officer, Nigel Delo, who accused Patricia de Lille of allegedly pressuring him into awarding an R8 million contract while she was ID leader. 

Delo told Scopa that De Lille pressed him to approve an R8m investment tender by financial firm Quadrix in 2009. Quadrix was the firm with which the ID invested party funds. 

De Lille has denied the allegations and is seeking legal advice. 

Delo is now chief financial officer of Kannaland, which was identified by the provincial treasury on Friday as another “problem” municipality. 

Delo was given 14 days to provide proof that he informed his superiors – the mayor and municipal manager – and the Department of Local Government that senior political office-bearers had tried to interfere unlawfully in the bid adjudication process. 

Scopa chairwoman Pauline Cupido confirmed that documents had been received and would be studied. 

Delo has also applied for proof of a cellphone conversation in which De Lille allegedly tried to pressurise him.

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