Charges against officials dropped
Cape Town - Prosecutors have withdrawn criminal charges against the former mayor and municipal manager of Bitou municipality, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed on Thursday.
Former mayor Euan Wildeman and former manager George Seitisho were arrested in 2007 and charged with fraud and theft.
This followed audit findings that they had used council credit cards for personal spending and double claimed on a pricey overseas trip.
NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the director of public prosecutions in the Western Cape Rodney de Kock decided to drop the charges after receiving representations from the men's lawyers.
He also "re-evaluated new evidential material that was placed before him", and concluded there was no prospect of a successful prosecution.
Democratic Alliance constituency head for the Plettenberg Bay-based municipality Donald Grant said it was "with shock" that he had learned of the withdrawal.
Grant, who is also Western Cape education minister, said the charges were laid by the MEC for local government during the tenure of the previous African National Congress administration in the province.
"We will issue a full statement once we have received the reasons for the unilateral withdrawal of this case by the State," he said.
"I am bitterly disappointed about this development after at least five postponements over a number of years."