Good Party urges probe of parcel hoarding reports in Saldanha Bay Municipality, Newsline

Cape Town – The Good party has asked the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate “the hijacking of Covid-19 food relief by Saldanha Bay Municipality bosses for party political purposes” based on the reports of whistle-blowers.

Good secretary-general Brett Herron said Good has written to the SIU, including some photographs, to request that it investigates this alleged theft and corruption as part of its Covid-19 investigation mandate from the president.

Herron said: “According to detailed information from whistle-blowers in the municipality, more than R1 million worth of food funded by the state and private sector companies for distribution to destitute families during lockdown was instead used to manipulate the outcome of an upcoming by-election.”

“Thousands of food parcels were initially hoarded at the municipal traffic department offices in Vredenburg. Because of distribution delays, some of the food went rotten and was dumped at the municipal dump. Remaining food was then distributed to 80 soup kitchens operated from the homes of DA friends. From there, much of it was distributed as patronage by councillors,” said Herron.

Saldanha Bay Municipality spokesperson Ethne Lawrence said: “The municipality will co-operate with any government agency that has been assigned to conduct an investigation, including the SIU, regarding the Saldanha Bay Food Relief Centre.

“The municipality has records and proof of the distribution of food parcels to deserving beneficiaries.

“These records were diligently kept to meet the strict requirements of the public and private sector who donated and made funding available. It should further be noted that the last consignment of food parcels was distributed in July 2020,” said Lawrence.

“This was prior to the vacancy for Ward 13. It is therefore mischievous to imply that the distribution of food parcels was used to either influence or manipulate any by-election.”

Local Government MEC Anton Bredell’s spokesperson James-Brent Styan said:

“At this stage, we have not received any complaints or requests for investigation into the municipality.”

Cape Argus