George sheds top officials after forensic investigators point finger

Melvin Naik was removed as mayor of George by the DA and has appeared in court charged with fraud and corruption.
Melvin Naik was removed as mayor of George by the DA and has appeared in court charged with fraud and corruption.
Image: Twitter/Debbie Schafer

Two senior officials at George municipality in the Western Cape have quit after a forensic investigation into allegations of maladministration, fraud and corruption recommended disciplinary action against them.

Mayor Leon van Wyk said on Wednesday that municipal manager Trevor Botha and community services director Walter Hendricks were leaving with immediate effect.

Van Wyk said Botha and Hendricks had "requested the termination" of their contracts. The council had agreed to give Botha 10 months' severance pay and Hendricks five months.

Both men face criminal charges for their involvement in alleged corruption related to former mayor Melvin Naik's War-on-Waste project.

The mayor said severance packages had been agreed "to enable the municipality to take measures to improve service delivery levels to all our communities".

He added: "In recent months there has been an unfortunate decline in service delivery in certain aspects, for example refuse collection. We apologise for what has taken place."

The forensic report by SNG Grant Thornton, tabled at a council meeting on Wednesday, also recommends disciplinary steps against "a number of other officials", said Van Wyk.

"The termination of the employment agreement between the municipality and the senior managers in no way prevents the institution of any criminal action and or the recovery of fruitless and wasteful expenditure against the senior managers should same be proven to be the case," he said.

Naik, Botha, Hendricks and two other officials - Wessel Robertson and Rowan Botha - appeared in George magistrate's court in October charged with fraud, corruption and contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act. They are due back in court on December 10.

War-on-Waste promised to provide employment through the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme.

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