DA has still not recovered looted funds from Garden Route

Despite 13 years of effective immunity, former-ANC members in DA-run Garden Route are now facing prosecution. But the DA has been slow to act even now





Jul 8, 2024

DA has still not recovered looted funds from Garden Route

On the 26th of June, Memory Booysen, the former mayor of Garden Route District Municipality, finally had a corruption investigation opened on him by the Hawks, after over a decade of DA efforts to suppress criticism.

The investigation followed a media release on 21 June by Khalid Sayed, the ANC’s provincial spokesperson, urging the DA to address the matter promptly. "The ANC is troubled by the allegations of contraventions of the Municipal Finance Management Act, which the GRDM dismissed. This dismissal has been contradicted by the findings of the Western Cape Local Government MEC, Anton Bredell, and the ongoing Hawks investigation," Sayed said.

Sayed announced that the ANC plans to bring the issue before the legislature's conduct committee once it is established. He alleges that Booysen approved irregular remuneration for GRDM municipal manager Monde Stratu, including an illegal gratuity of R4,241,375, exceeding Upper Limit Notices.

Sayed further claimed that Booysen's actions violate the DA's standards for public representation as outlined in the memorandum endorsed by Federal Council Chairperson Helen Zille on 5 July. He also accused Booysen of failing to oversee illegal remuneration practices within the administration and of not informing the DA caucus and the council of the notice.

On the 3rd of May 2023, the DA  Federal Legal Commission (FLC) issued a report into Garden Route District Municipality Mayor Memory Booysen. It demanded “that Booysen must take a properly motivated, ethically and in law, motion to the District Council to have Stratu suspended from his duties as the Municipal Manager whilst a forensic investigation into the charges faced by Stratu in court is conducted by the District Municipality.”

Precisely three weeks later, a letter from Provincial Minister Anton Bredell, titled “Notice of intention to intervene in terms of Section139(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996”, demanded that the municipality:
“… address and deliver to the following recipients of payment(s) in excess of the waiver approval for the Municipal Manager and the applicable upper limits of the remuneration packages of senior managers: Mr Monde Stratu; MsTrix Holtzhausen; Mr Clive Africa; Mr John Daniels; Mr Lusanda Menze; and MrJan-Willem de Jager,”

This letter demanded that they repay the money to the Municipality by a date specified in the letters, failing which, without further notice to them, the Municipality will institute proceedings against him/her/them in a court with jurisdiction aimed at orders to recover R6 683107.58.

This is a welcome break with the 13years of protection Booysen has received from his superiors, who were made aware of his and his other former-ANC colleagues’ looting of Garden Route coffers in 2011 already, but responded by immediately expelling their own Speaker for complaining.

While the amount missing from the books appears petty in comparison to national scandals, it accounts for 1.3% of the annual budget. For perspective, 1.3% of the national budget is R28.1 billion.

The presumptive executive mayor, Councillor Andrew Stroebel, has yet to comply with the demands of the FLC and Bredell, from the date of his inauguration. Other charges involve the misclassification of properties on financial statements, and the separate apparent malfeasance relating to the Kleinkrantz development.

more articles by this author