“MEC Anton Bredell has created a untenable situation for himself – he has been secretly recorded proposing a political solution for the administration of Oudtshoorn, acting in his party’s interests instead of the interests of the town.” – Statement by Brett Herron, the GOOD Party’s Secretary General and Member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.
SECRET RECORDING EXPOSES MEC ANTON BREDELL PLOTTING TO TAKE CONTROL OF OUDTSHOORN
Western Cape MEC for Local Government Anton Bredell was secretly recorded plotting with Oudtshoorn councillors to place the town under provincial administration, under his direct control – and promising he would ensure that they kept their jobs and salaries.
The recording of Bredell, who is also DA Western Cape chairperson, addressing the DA-led Oudtshoorn councillor caucus in December 2019, further exposes a pattern of town capture in the Southern Cape.
Bredell’s scheme for Oudtshoorn involved councillors formally requesting that the municipality is placed under provincial administration (recording and transcript attached). The request would be received and processed by Bredell, himself.
Unlike, say, in Tshwane, where politicians lose their positions and salaries when the council is placed under administration – to allow fresh elections to be held – Bredell proposed a different approach.
He promised to keep councillors and Mayco members in their positions, earning their salaries, while removing all their functions to his own office.
Bredell suggests that this would be in the best interest of the party, and allow councillors the time to conduct political work while earning councillor salaries.
The scheme reveals, at best, an untenable conflict of interest; at worst, the plotting of a criminal conspiracy.
The move to place the local government under administration is the same pattern we have seen in George and, more recently, in Knysna. In all these towns, the DA has been implicated in corruption. Placing towns under provincial administration enables provincial politicians to take charge of squashing investigations and burying evidence.
GOOD Leader Patricia de Lille handed a dossier of evidence of corruption in George to the Office of the Public Protector more than a year ago. Now GOOD will submit a dossier on Oudtshoorn, including the secret recording.
An investigation by a top South African law firm Webber Wentzel has already produced two reports for Oudtshoorn council. The reports recommend that the Council lays criminal charges and takes disciplinary action against Municipal Manager, Alan Paulse, for financial misconduct arising out of the awarding the contracts and tenders.
The reports note that, “Paulse used his position in the Municipality to promote the interests of a political party and what appears to be a faction thereof”.
Webber Wentzel’s investigation also finds unlawful the appointment of former Cape Town Mayco member Shehaam Sims as Oudtshoorn’s Acting Director for Human Settlements. Her participation in DA political processes, such as investigations and disciplinary processes, was wrongful, the legal firm said.
The DA has lost all sense of the separation of powers, between party and state, and is openly abusing their provincial government powers.
Bredell has created a untenable situation for himself – he has been secretly recorded proposing a political solution for the administration of Oudtshoorn, acting in his party’s interests instead of the interests of the town.
* Bredell has a special relationship with Oudtshoorn. He was a career soldier in the South African Defence Force who rose to the position of Officer Commanding the infantry school in Oudtshoorn, before retiring from the military soon after the dawning of democracy.