DA mayor in Agulhas found guilty of misconduct, recommended for dismissal

While the amount of money missing is petty compared to what is usually misappropriated by South African politicians, the DA was keen to delay findings until after the elections.





May 22, 2024

DA mayor in Agulhas found guilty of misconduct, recommended for dismissal

A disciplinary report has called for the removal of Paul Swart, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Mayor of Cape Agulhas, following a forensic investigation that found him guilty of misconduct. The investigation accused Swart of interfering in a tender process and causing wasteful expenditure.

The report, produced by Nexus Forensics Services, uncovered that Swart had violated municipal regulations by giving unauthorized operational instructions to officials. It also highlighted two specific charges: failing to disclose unauthorised expenditure and failing to disclose his interest in a financial transaction.

The disciplinary process, which concluded earlier this month, scrutinised Swart's involvement in a R30,000 payment made in March 2021 to the Elim Community Trust. The investigation revealed that Swart, who was a founder of the trust, did not disclose his ongoing interest in it, despite stepping down as a trustee in 2016. The payment was deemed a breach of both the councillor code of conduct and the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The report emphasised the seriousness of Swart's actions, stating, "As he has been the mayor for nine years, he ought to know the applicable laws, policies, and regulations when it comes to spending public funds. His conduct has to be above reproach at all times."

In light of these findings, the report recommended that the Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Anton Bredell, remove Swart from his position. The disciplinary committee was divided on the recommendation, with three members advocating for his removal and one suggesting a suspension.

Nicholas Myburgh, the DA constituency head for Cape Agulhas, defended Swart, alleging that the report was politically motivated. He accused the Freedom Front Plus of colluding with the ANC to undermine Swart, describing the disciplinary process as a "witch hunt."

"This is nothing more than a witch hunt, and we condemn the false accusations against Mayor Swart," Myburgh asserted.

Renier Louw, the ANC's Overberg spokesperson, countered by emphasising the need for accountability and good governance. "This decision is reached with a deep sense of responsibility towards our community," Louw stated.

Dirk Jantjies from the Dienslewering Party added that the DA had attempted to delay the disciplinary process until after the elections, noting Swart's candidacy for a provincial position.

Bredell's office confirmed that it had not yet received the official report but indicated that it would review the findings and provide guidance once it had been submitted.

As the matter awaits further action, the focus remains on ensuring rigorous adherence to disciplinary procedures and maintaining the integrity of public office.

more articles by this author