ActionSA Writes to uMngeni Municipality Speaker Requesting Answers & Sequence of Events Leading to Awarding of R100 000 to UMngeni Tourism

ActionSA has made the decision to write to the uMngeni Municipality Speaker, Ms Janis Holmes, requesting immediate answers on what transpired leading up to awarding of R100 000 to UMngeni Tourism, a non-profit organisation (NPO) headed by Mayor Chris Pappas’s fiancé, Mr JP Prinsloo.

While Prinsloo and Pappas share a working relationship, the NPO currently earns monthly payments from the Municipality of R10 000, the R100 000 was received by the NPO as additional funding.

The Mayor had direct conflict of interest in this matter, and should have not have only declared his relationship with Prinsloo, but should have declared the interest and recused himself from deliberations pertaining to the NPO.

It is also alleged that the couple travelled together to various events and functions, aimed at promoting the Municipality. Although it is not clear whether municipal funds were used for their travels, or were using their respective capacities, however, we have requested clarity from the Speaker in this regard,

The Speaker is hereby requested to take us through the sequence of events leading up to the awarding of the NPO in question, and to ascertain whether code of conduct and proper protocol was followed by the Mayor in this regard after declaring his relationship with Prinsloo, which would be to excuse himself from council and committee meetings in which this item was tabled.

In understanding the position of conflict-of-interest Mayor Pappas found himself in, councillors are, by law, required to recuse themselves from council, especially when matters are to be voted upon, which is highlighted under Schedule 7 of the Code of Conduct for Councillors, under ‘Disclosure of Interests’ that:

A councillor must:

  1. Disclose to the municipal council, or to any committee of which that councillor is a member, any direct or indirect personal or private business interest that that councillor, or any spouse, partner or business association of that councillor may have in any matter before the council or the committee; and
  2. Withdraw from the proceedings of the council or committee when that matter is considered by the council or committee, unless council or committee decides that the councillor’s direct or indirect interest in the matter is trivial or irrelevant.

With a number of various and conflicting reports of this issue, revealing that Umngeni Tourism enjoys the preferential treatment of receiving R100 000 in funding from the Municipality, our list of questions to the Speaker requests that she solely focuses on processes undertaken in the current term (starting from 2021).