Zille moves to dis­ci­pline DA coun­cil­lors over deed of set­tle­ment

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - Warda.meyer@inl.co.za

set­tle­ment”, each party will pay its own costs of the es­ti­mated R4.5 mil­lion bill, de­spite costs be­ing awarded to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity by the Western Cape High Court and later by the Supreme Court of Ap­peal.

The deed of set­tle­ment will, in ef­fect, see tax­pay­ers pay about R2m for Nel’s le­gal bill against the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Mu­nic­i­pal in­sid­ers said 11 DA coun­cil­lors and a Cope coun­cil­lor con­spired to push through the set­tle­ment in an at­tempt to avoid Nel hav­ing to pay the le­gal costs him­self. This came shortly af­ter the DA’s May 31 take-over bid in the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

In­sid­ers claimed fur­ther that the set­tle­ment drafted by well-known Oudt­shoorn busi­ness­man and at­tor­ney Nic Bar­row on be­half of Nel and DA coun­cil­lor Ben van Wyk was made to re­sem­ble an of­fi­cial Con­sti­tu­tional Court doc­u­ment, but lacked an of­fi­cial Con­sti­tu­tional Court case num­ber. It in­di­cated that Nel would with­draw the ap­pli­ca­tion for leave to ap­peal to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, al­though no such case ex­isted.

An out­raged Zille de­nied that the DA had au­tho­rised any set­tle­ment in­struc­tion.

“The DA would never ac­cept or con­done, let alone im­ple­ment any so-called agree­ment which re­quires the ratepay­ers to pay a pri­vate le­gal bill.”

The DA leader said she asked one of the coun­cil­lors in­volved to ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion, and had sub­se­quently re­ceived doc­u­men­ta­tion.

“I im­me­di­ately in­structed that dis­ci­plinary pro­ce­dures be im­ple­mented against the DA coun­cil­lors al­legedly in­volved. I have asked Lo­cal Govern­ment MEC An­ton Bre­dell whether crim­i­nal charges should be brought,” she added.

Zille also wants ac­tion taken against Bar­row: “It is clear that Nic Bar­row, a lo­cal busi­ness­man, was cen­tral to th­ese de­vel­op­ments, and should not es­cape the con­se­quences.”

Ap­proached for comment, Bre­dell said he was in­ves­ti­gat­ing lodg­ing crim­i­nal charges, and would make a de­ci­sion on the way for­ward by early next week.

Oudt­shoorn mayor Gor­don April called the “set­tle­ment” a “fig­ment of some fraught fan­tasy”. He ac­cused Bar­row, the DA coun­cil­lors and the Cope coun­cil­lor of con­spir­ing to dump the le­gal costs on un­sus­pect­ing ratepay­ers, and has sub­se­quently laid crim­i­nal charges against all in­volved.

Nel could not be reached for comment, but DA spokesman Chris MacPher­son said the in­ci­dent was be­ing blown out of pro­por­tion be­cause there was no fed­eral DA ap­proval for such an agree­ment.

Bar­row called the al­le­ga­tions false and base­less, and said he had is­sued sum­mons against the mayor and the me­dia li­ai­son of­fi­cer for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, for defama­tion. He is su­ing each for R300 000.

Con­cern­ing the al­leged crim­i­nal cases against his client, Bar­row said he was not aware of any such cases.

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