Mayor Dan Plato’s office denies Good party claims of Covid-19 slush funds

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published27m ago

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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town has denied allegations made by Good party MPL Brett Herron regarding an alleged conspiracy to misappropriate and launder the City’s Covid-19 relief monies to create a political slush fund.

Writing to Mayor Dan Plato in his capacity both as mayor and regional chairperson of the DA, Herron requested urgent clarity on the alleged conspiracy and to provide further information on matters pertaining to the City’s Covid-19 relief funds, and what steps have been taken to hold implicated parties to account.

Herron said: “Conspirators allegedly include very senior colleagues of Plato’s in DA structures in Atlantis, city councillors, City staff and a church in Table View.

“It is unclear if the slush fund was intended to grease an internal DA campaign, or be used for DA party purposes. The Good party has established that a criminal investigation is under way and one senior DA member in Atlantis has already been arrested.

“A case has been registered (case number 392/11/2020) and more arrests are expected to follow.”

In December last year the Hawks arrested the director of an NGO who allegedly defrauded the Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme in Atlantis.

On Friday mayoral spokesperson Greg Wagner said: “There is simply no truth to the false allegations made by the MPL. The City’s Covid-19 relief fund is fully audited and every cent can be accounted for.

“The arrest referred to Atlantis is not related to any of the City’s food relief programmes and a simple enquiry with the SAPS could have confirmed this.”

“The City’s spending on humanitarian relief includes approximately R14 million from the Mayor’s Relief Fund spent to support a major food relief drive, which included equipping soup kitchens and providing other food relief where soup kitchens were not established.”

Wagner said a R10m grant-in-aid funding was approved in January by the City and is being rolled out to 14 qualifying registered non-governmental organisations, public benefit organisations, or non-profit organisations that applied to issue relief within the municipal boundaries of the City to prepare and distribute cooked meals directly to vulnerable communities.

DA councillor Roberto Quintas, who is in charge of Plato’s re-election campaign, said: “I can guarantee you there have been no such activities, as they would be contrary to City’s and the DA’s regulations.

“Also, beneficiaries of these packs do not sit on the selection panel which will choose the next DA mayoral candidate for 2021.”

Cape Argus

Credit IOL