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News24.com | DA mayoral candidate for Beaufort West allegedly owes municipality over R600 000

The DA's mayoral candidate for Beaufort West, Derick Welgemoed, has come under fire for allegedly owing the already financial distressed municipality R600 000 in outstanding municipal arrears.

The ANC has raised concerns about Welgemoed's involvement in supply chain management processes.

He has dismissed the claims, saying during 2005 he applied to the council to buy plots that had been vacant for years. 

"I bought two pieces of land - one was through a tender and one through a public auction. I appointed an attorney who attended the auction and the attorney did the bids on my behalf and I bought the plot in question. It was transferred through a development trust," Welgemoed said. 

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He told News24 a lot of plots in the second development were still vacant, while the trust was dormant. 

"I am a trustee of the trust in question and the trust is bankrupt. I don't deny there are outstanding taxes. I bought the plots through an auction." 

Welgemoed added he was investigating the ANC in Beaufort West.

"After the elections we will do a clean-up of the Beaufort West Municipality," he said.

Arrears

The ANC's election head, Cameron Dugmore, said it was "arrogance" that Welgemoed refused to pay the municipal arrears. 

"Welgemoed is the director of this trust and they are in arrears, and he needs to personally pay this money. I think it is important that the municipality institute legal action against him and attach his property for not paying what he owes. This is corruption on a grand scale," Dugmore added. 

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In a letter to Western Cape Local Government MEC Anton Bredell, which was seen by News24, municipality speaker Noel Constable urged Bredell to take action against Welgemoed. 

"As speaker of council, I hereby wish to bring to the minister's attention, as you are aware that the municipality is in a financial difficulty that Councillor Welgemoed could owe R684 297.53 to the municipality. You are requested in terms of regulation to take the necessary action against the councillor," the letter stated. 

ANC Western Cape leader Cameron Dugmore.

ANC Western Cape leader Cameron Dugmore.

It said because Welgemoed was a mayoral candidate of his party, Bredell should take immediate action against him.

The municipality also requested advice from the provincial treasury about the conduct of Welgemoed, who is accused of attending the opening bid with supply chain management officials. 

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Last week, the treasury issued recommendations to the municipality, saying the "accounting officer institute disciplinary action against Councillor Derrick Welgemoed as outlined in Schedule 1: Section 14 - 'Breaches of Code' of the Local Government Municipal System's Act".

Bredell's spokesperson, James-Brent Styan, said the MEC had responded to the matter.

"The minister has noted a resolution taken by the council to establish a special committee that would investigate and make findings on the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct by the councillor.

"The statutory legal duty in cases like these involving allegations against councillors, reside by law on the speaker and/or the municipal council who are encouraged to follow the due procedures in terms of the Code of Conduct for councillors."

He added Bredell would await the outcome of an investigation and the council resolution pertaining to the matter.