Adv. Lonwabo Ngoqo
Telephone: 044-501 3000
Manager: Communications and Customer Care
19 February 2020
For immediate release
Release of a forensic report by the MEC
- A Provincial investigation/forensic report was delivered to the Bitou Municipality by the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC of the Western Cape on 6th December 2019.
- It was dated 17th March 2019 and relates to serious allegations at Bitou Municipality pursuant to section 7(4) (g) of the Western Cape Monitoring and Support of Municipalities Act 2014. It was prepared and issued by Peter Allwright and Josias Strydom.
- On the 12th December 2019. the Bitou Municipality appointed attorneys Mosdell Pama and Cox and Boqwana Burns to act in this matter. They are independent and experienced attorneys who specialise in public administration and forensic investigations. They were asked to assess the report and provide recommendations on the way forward, in line with the process set out in legislation. It is paramount that the rule of law be followed in all respects.
- Their mandate consisted of the following:
4.1. To develop a process plan to respond to the report;
4.2. To attend to the findings and recommendations recorded in the report, in consultation with the office of the Municipal Manager of the Bitou Municipality;
4.3. To develop the report, aligned to/with the process plan, to be tabled to Council in January/ February 2020; and
4.4. To advise the Municipal Manager of the Bitou Municipality of any pending legal matters as a result of the abovementioned report.
- A “Process Plan” was prepared by the attorneys and the Bitou Municipal Council dealt with the forensic report and the Process Plan in an ordinary Council meeting on 3rd February 2020.
- Due to the content of the report, the Bitou Municipality is required to keep the report confidential until such time as the allegations contained in the report have been tested and confirmed. This is in line with the Municipal Finance Management Act 2003, read with its regulations and labour law.
- It would be incorrect for the Bitou Municipality to release such a report to the general public without first confirming its correctness as there could be severe ramifications for persons mentioned therein who have not yet been subjected to due process.
- Bitou Municipality is an organ of state which is bound by various pieces of legislation, including the Constitution. The Municipality takes its compliance with all legislation seriously and seeks to ensure proper service delivery to its residents through the procedures set out in legislation.
- We wish to assure the ratepayers that the Municipality takes the allegations contained in the report seriously and will investigate each matter properly. Any person found to have contravened the law and/or policies will be taken to task based on the recommendations provided by our legal team.
- The Municipal Manager is also willing to meet with the Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers Association to discuss the implementation of the advice given. The report prepared by the attorneys set out the standard legal procedures that should be followed by a Municipality when presented with allegations of this nature.
- The Bitou Municipality has a zero-tolerance policy for fraud and corruption, but it must take reasonable steps within the bounds of the laws that control it.
- We request that the ratepayers remain patient with the Bitou Municipality as it takes the necessary steps to properly assess the issues in compliance with legislation and policy.
Issued By: Andile Namntu on behalf of
Last published 19 February 2020
Advocate Lonwabo Ngoqo
Municipal Manager of the Bitou Local Municipality