Cape Town – Former DA member now GOOD secretary-general Brett Herron has launched a scathing attack on the DA for ignoring evidence that Western Cape Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers was guilty of electricity theft before he was appointed to the position.
“As GOOD awaits Western Cape Premier Alan Winde’s response to whistle-blowers’ evidence that one of his newly appointed MECs, Tertuis Simmers, was guilty of electricity theft while serving as a DA councillor in George, damning new evidence of a cover-up has emerged.
DA members confirmed that prima facie evidence of theft by MEC Simmers was discovered and brought to the attention of the DA’s provincial leadership,” Herron said.
He said in 2018, the complaint was apparently referred to the DA’s provincial disciplinary committee, but the committee did not act because it was awaiting the outcome of a police investigation. Earlier this month, GOOD said it had evidence that Simmers stole electricity while he was employed as a councillor and mayoral committee member at the George municipality.
The party said evidence was submitted to its corruption desk the George municipality attempted to “decriminalise” the theft of electricity to protect Simmers from criminal prosecution. The case dates back to 2015, when initial charges against Simmers on the issue were withdrawn.
According to the evidence, municipal officials discovered evidence of tampering with the electricity meter, diverting the connection to avoid being charged for consumption.
A tampering fine of R3246 was allegedly charged to the account and the fine was paid.
An amount of R6947.77 was still outstanding on this account as at August 2016 when the deductions from Simmers’ account were halted.
“Simmers’ appointment as an MEC makes a mockery of Winde’s promises about lifestyle audits and leading a government of integrity.
“I continue to await the premier’s explanation for Simmers’ appointment, and to hear what action he will take to remedy the situation,” Herron said. MEC Simmers disputed the allegations.
“I did not tamper with the electric meter. It was fully investigated in 2016 and found to be spurious. I reported the tampering to the George municipality. To this day we still do not know who paid for the fine,” he said.
Simmers said he was not surprised by GOOD’s allegations a few weeks after the GOOD party lost in the by-election in George.
“These allegations have been brought up in the past by the Good leader, Patricia de Lille, when she was still a DA member and now Herron is seeking to reopen it.
“There is clear malicious intent on the part of Herron and I will therefore be seeking legal advice.”
George municipality spokesperson Chantel Edwards-Klose said: “The allegations of electricity theft were resolved and it must be noted that Simmers has never held a municipal account in his name with George municipality. Simmers was DA councillor for Garden Route District Municipality (previously Eden District Municipality).”
DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said: “Brett is talking nonsense and he’s a hypocrite.
“Why didn’t he pursue this when he was a member of the DA? He’s being opportunistic, he must go and lay a charge at a police station.”