Corruption claims against uMngeni mayor Chris Pappas are ‘unfounded’

uMngeni Local Municipality mayor and DA KZN premiership candidate Chris Pappas. Picture: DA KZN/ Facebook

uMngeni Local Municipality mayor and DA KZN premiership candidate Chris Pappas. Picture: DA KZN/ Facebook

Published Feb 29, 2024


Durban — Based on information sourced and provided, and in the absence of further details, it was deduced that the allegations, at this stage, against uMngeni Local Municipality mayor and DA KwaZulu-Natal premiership candidate Chris Pappas are unfounded.

That was contained in a notification in respect of a parliamentary assessment into the allegations of corruption levelled against Pappas from the KZN Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).

Allegations had surfaced, suggesting an undue benefit from municipal funding involving Pappas and his former partner, Jean-Pierre Prinsloo.

In a letter addressed to uMngeni municipal manager Mzingisi Hloba and signed by KZN Cogta MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, it said that KZN Cogta was made aware of the allegations of corruption levelled against Pappas that were circulated in various media houses and social media on October 5, 2023.

The letter said that the department had liaised with the uMngeni Municipality and requested specific information pertaining to the allegations made.

“Subsequent to the receipt of the requested information, a preliminary assessment was conducted into the allegations,” the letter read.

“Based on information sourced and provided, and in the absence of further details, it was deduced that the allegations, at this stage, are unfounded.”

The letter continued: “It is, however, pertinent to inform you, that it was found that internal controls relating to the funding of community tourism organisations (CTOs) needs to be strengthened and standard operating procedures must be clearly outlined.

“More specifically, it was found that uMngeni Local Municipality does not have a policy which outlines a process of funding community tourism organisations (CTOs) and that is in contravention of section 33 of the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Act, 1996 as amended, including No. 2 of 2002 which states that municipalities are responsible for developing and implementing municipal tourism policies in their jurisdictions within the framework of the Constitution, Local Government: Municipal Structures Act No. 117 of 1998 and national and provincial tourism policies and legislation.”

The letter added that the municipality may also want to consider the delegation of the approval of funding to CTOs to the municipal manager, to remove any perceptions of political interference on administrative and operational matters.

“Kindly ensure that you take all steps necessary to improve and strengthen the aforementioned controls thereby fostering good governance and transparent and accountable administration.”

Reacting to the letter, DA KZN provincial chairperson Dean Macpherson said that in the light of the recent investigation conducted by Cogta, “we are pleased to share conclusive findings that affirm the integrity of our candidate”.

Macpherson said the claims made by ANC members required a thorough and unbiased investigation by Cogta to ensure transparency and uphold the democratic values they stand for.

He said that the DA has always been at the forefront of advocating for good governance, transparency, and ethical leadership. It is with this commitment to high standards that they welcomed the full co-operation of the uMngeni government with the Cogta investigation, confident in the integrity of their candidate.

“The findings of the investigation, as released by the MEC for Cogta, have categorically dismissed the allegations as unfounded. The exhaustive review of evidence has shown that there is no basis to the claims that our candidate, or his former partner, unduly benefited from municipal funding,” Macpherson said.

“It is, however, regrettable that precious government resources had to be used to investigate these baseless allegations by the ANC which were nothing other than an attempt to score cheap political points which have ultimately backfired on them. We hope the ANC will use this opportunity to reflect on their behaviour and channel their focus on real corruption taking place in their own municipalities like eThekwini and Msunduzi, which have collapsed.

“This result not only vindicates our candidate, but also underscores the importance of due process and the need to confront baseless accusations with facts. The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal views this outcome as a reaffirmation of our candidate's suitability for the premiership, his unblemished record of service, and his dedication to the principles of fairness and justice.”

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News in October last year, Pappas provided invoices that revealed that the NPO was granted R50 000 in funding to organise a festival that had been approved by the council.

uMngeni Municipality invoices showed no proof of a R100 000 payment to the uMngeni Tourism non-profit organisation (NPO) which organised the Light Up uMngeni Municipality Festival in December 2022.

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