“This is in pursuance of a criminal investigation against Mayor Melvin Naik and others implicated in alleged involvement in corrupt activities and interfering in administrative processes,” DA MP and constituency head for George Geordin Hill-Lewis said in a statement.
The forensic investigation was conducted on Western Cape Local Government MEC Anton Bredell’s instruction.
Hill-Lewis has called the report’s findings “very serious allegations”.
“The DA is a party committed to clean government. We will not allow any public representative to jeopardise our reputation as the party of good governance. Therefore, we have decided to take decisive action to restore the integrity of the DA administration in George.”
He said the party was also pursuing internal steps against Naik.
The DA has written to Naik to notify him of its intention to place him on suspension, and he has the right to provide reasons why this should not happen.
“I wish to reassure the residents of George that the DA will take every step necessary to root out any form of corruption in the DA government.
“Residents must have confidence that where the DA governs, public money is not abused,” said Hill-Lewis.
“Our main priority is restoring the credibility and integrity of the George government and we want to thank the residents for their continued support.”
On Tuesday, when Hill-Lewis announced the DA intended to suspend Naik, he noted “Naik denies all the allegations against him, and they have not been proven in court”.
Meanwhile, the Western Cape ANC and GOOD feel the net should be cast wider, accusing the DA of factionalism.
In April last year, GOOD leader Patricia de Lille laid a complaint against DA finance portfolio councillor Stag Cronjé with the Public Protector. At the time, Bredell dismissed the accusations against Cronjé.
“The DA’s spin that suspending its allegedly corrupt mayor in George restores its integrity in the Southern Cape town must be taken with a pinch of salt,” GOOD secretary-general Brett Herron said in a statement.
He added the party had failed to act against Cronjé and other DA councillors in George who have been accused of wrongdoing.
“If there is evidence to suggest that Naik is guilty of misconduct then the DA must take action against him. They must also take action against others implicated in corruption,” said Herron.
“Handpicking who in the George Municipality to take action against exposes the DA leadership for pursuing factional battles and scrambling to protect patronage within the municipality.”
Regional ANC secretary Major Sokopo said in a statement: “The issue we want to raise is that the DA must not give the impression that the investigation was its initiative. It was opposition parties, in particular the ANC and PBI, that started this.”
He, too, demanded an investigation into Cronjé.
“The DA has not done anything about it. It is for two reasons. One: It’s because this man is white. Two: It’s because he might belong to the dominant faction, so they will have to find a way of dealing with it.”