by Dr Isak Fritz, MPL – Constituency Head of Hantam
Date: 12 December 2017
Type: Press Statement
Another municipality, Karoo Hoogland, has been implicated in the ANC conference fraud scandal that was recently exposed by the DA.
New evidence now suggests that it was not only public representatives from Hantam Municipality that used a Social Relief training programme as a screen for fraudulent travel and accommodation claims. Karoo Hoogland can also be added to the list, confirming the DA’s suspicions that the scam is in fact widespread.
The DA is in possession of a copy of letter, written on the letterhead of the Northern Cape Social Development Department, inviting the mayor of Karoo Hoogland Municipality, Verushka Wentzel, to attend a Social Relief workshop. The letter is signed by the department’s Head of Ministry, Neo Maneng.
On top of this, the DA is also in possession of a copy of an affidavit, signed by Wentzel, stating that she attended the departmental workshop in Colesberg from 9 -14 May. The affidavit accompanied a R1 600 travel claim that was paid out to Wentzel. She indicates that she is still waiting to receive a copy of the attendance register for the workshop.
The letter from Maneng, as well as Wentzel’s affidavit and travel claim, are inconsistent with additional evidence that indicates that the so-called “Social Relief programme” in Colesberg, which coincidentally coincided with the ANC’s provincial conference that took place in the same town from 10 – 15 May 2017, was nothing but a sham.
The DA suspects that the non-existent programme was fabricated to enable ANC councillors to claim from municipal coffers for travel and accommodation costs incurred for attending the political event.
The DA has already reported a similar case, involving Hantam Municipality, to the Office of Public Protector. We will also forward the new documentary evidence relating to Wentzel’s claims, for the PP’s attention.
We believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that it is only a matter of time before more evidence, regarding similar claims in other municipalities, comes to light.
The manipulation of government programmes and funds, for party political purposes, robs the poorest of the poor of basic services. Such criminality will not be tolerated by the DA.