Motion of no confidence in Cederberg mayor succeeds amid fraud, corruption allegations

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Motion of no confidence in Cederberg mayor succeeds amid fraud, corruption allegations
Motion of no confidence in Cederberg mayor succeeds amid fraud, corruption allegations

Africa-Press – South-Africa. A motion of no confidence in Cederberg Mayor Ruben Richards succeeded on Wednesday after allegations of fraud and corruption were levelled against him, which prompted a forensic investigation.

The motion was tabled by the Patriotic Alliance (PA) and supported by the ANC during a full council meeting on Wednesday.

The motion succeeded after a DA member voted in favour with the ANC.

Richards is the leader and one of the founding members of the Cederberg First Residents Party.

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Cederberg was among the hung councils after the local government elections, and an agreement was signed between the DA, FF Plus and the Cederberg First Residents Party.

It had previously been governed by the ANC.

The municipality said an intention was submitted for a motion of no confidence in Richards, Deputy Mayor Johan van der Heever and council speaker William Farmer at a council meeting on 4 July.

ANC West Coast secretary Neville Delport told News24 they brought the motion of no confidence after the allegations were levelled against Richards.

“The council decided also to establish a committee to investigate the allegations against the former mayor,” he said.

Delport added they were happy with the outcome of the council meeting.

“Indeed, we need to fight corrupt activities and focus on service delivery issues.”

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An investigation into Richards was launched after it emerged he allegedly transferred part of a farm without any approvals or applications. It also revealed he reportedly appointed a supplier without following due process.

The municipality said it was embroiled in a liability debate in recent weeks.

“The spotlight was on the legal duties and responsibilities of councillors and, in particular, the role and functions of the executive mayor.

“Various opinions and arguments were heard and the council decided that the intention for the motion would be dealt with according to the municipality’s order rules, and that it would be heard and dealt with by the council within seven days.”

It added Richards was given the opportunity to provide reasons why the council should not take disciplinary action against him.

The disciplinary board for financial misconduct has also been tasked to investigate the timeframe or period the land in question was used.

Farmer was elected as the new mayor on Wednesday.

The ANC’s Maxwell Heins was elected as the new speaker, while the PA’s Wentzel van Neel was chosen as deputy mayor.

In a statement, the PA said it welcomed the downfall of the “DA-Freedom Front coalition in the Cederberg Local Municipality”.

The DA’s provincial leader, Tertius Simmers, added: “As the DA Western Cape, we are taking note of what transpired during the Cederberg council meeting and in due course, commensurate action will follow due process.”

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