Cape Town – A senior DA councillor in the Eden District municipality is in hot water, facing an internal party probe and a police investigation for allegedly forging a police letter and submitting it as evidence during a council meeting.
Tertius Simmers, a member of the municipality’s mayoral committee, is accused of not only misleading council by tabling a suspected fraudulent letter, but forging it to convince council that the theft case against him had been finalised and scratched from the roll.
The incident comes ahead of the DA unveiling its candidate lists for the upcoming elections.
At the heart of the matter is an electricity theft charge local police ale investigating against Simmers after allegations surfaced that he tampered with his meter and stole electricity.
The matter was up for discussion during the most recent council meeting held on April 19, where a decision was to be taken regarding possible disciplinary action against him.
However, Eden council Speaker Doris Nayler handed out the disputed police letter, effectively putting the matter to bed.
Eden mayor Wessie van der Westhuizen approached police to verify the authenticity of the letter.
The police said the electricity theft case had not been finalised and was still with the State prosecutor, who would make a final decision on whether or not to prosecute Simmers.
Police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie told the Cape Argus the letter in question was not official police correspondence.
“The case reported to the George Police Station for investigation in terms of the Electricity Act is currently still with the State prosecutor,” he said
Pojie said a case of fraud had been opened in light of the forged letter.
Van der Westhuizen has since written to DA provincial leader Patricia de Lille, accusing Simmers and Nayler of misleading the council.
“It is very clear that, apart from the fact that councillor Simmers and the speaker misled council, councillor Simmers was even prepared to fraudulently manufacture a letter from the SAPS.
“It is very clear that both Simmers and the speaker knew very well that they are misleading council with the tabling of the fraudulent letter,” he wrote.
Van der Westhuizen requested permission from the party to remove Simmers from the municipality’s mayoral committee.
“They are both not fit to be councillors, let alone be office bearers.
“I therefore ask for permission to remove Simmers from the MAYCO,” the letter states.
Rubbishing the allegations against him, Simmers said he took the accusations seriously.
“I will never, nor would I ever, do that which I am being accused of by the plaintiff, nor would I mislead council as I respect its core purpose and constitutional role too much,” he said
Simmers said, with the assistance of his legal representative, he would follow due process to ensure that “the truth is attained and the correct facts are placed on record” to prove his innocence.
“I once more welcome an independent police and any other independent investigation into this matter,” he added.
DA provincial chairman Anton Bredell said the allegations were of a serious nature and the party’s provincial executive was probing the claims.
“If found to be true, harsh action will be taken, he said.”
Bredell said he enlisted the help of Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato to assist in establishing the authenticity of the police letter.