Northern Cape mayor steps aside after being charged with fraud

Ramaphosa ally accused of fraud 'does the right thing'

Mpho Koka Journalist
AN ANC mayor in the Northern Cape has stepped aside following fraud and corruption charges.
AN ANC mayor in the Northern Cape has stepped aside following fraud and corruption charges.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba

A former ANC executive mayor of a municipality in the Northern Cape and a staunch supporter of President Cyril Ramaphosa is said not to be aggrieved after he stepped aside from his mayoral position just four days after appearing in court on charges of fraud.

In line with the ANC’s Nasrec 2017 resolution on members who are criminally charged, Marius Louw resigned from his positions as the executive mayor of the ZF Mgcawu district municipality in Upington, and as the regional deputy chairperson of the ANC in ZF Mgcawu, after he and his wife were charged with two counts of fraud, following their arrest by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, on June 17.

The couple appeared at the Upington magistrate’s court on the same day before being released on bail.

Last week Tuesday, the ANC in the Northern Cape confirmed it had received Louw’s letter, in which he expressed his intention to step aside.

When contacted for comment, Louw said he did not want to speak to the media. ''No man, I do not have any response. I do not have any comment. Please respect that,’’ said Louw, before hanging up.

The party’s provincial secretary, Deshi Ngxanga, said Louw was not upset after being told to step aside.

Louw and the ANC in the Northern Cape are backing Ramaphosa for a second term as president of the party come its much-anticipated national elective conference in December.

''He [Louw] is very close to me. Both of us strongly support Cyril for a second term. He is not aggrieved by what happened [having to step aside]. He is a disciplined cadre of the movement and abides by the rules of the organisation,’’ said Ngxanga.

Louw was elected mayor after the municipal elections in November. He was elected deputy chairperson at the party’s 8th regional conference in May last year.

Louw and his wife are accused of submitting fraudulent documents to a bank in order to buy vehicles costing more than R1m.

NPA spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said: “The executive mayor of the ZF Mgcawu district municipality, Mr Marius Matthew Louw, and his wife Gertrude Louw, were arrested on June 17 2022 and they made their first appearance in the district court in Upington on two counts of fraud relating to the purchasing of two vehicles. It is alleged that they utilised fraudulent documents to purchase these vehicles worth over R1,5m.’’

Senokoatsane said the accused were each granted bail of R5,000 and the matter was remanded to July 11. The state did not oppose bail.

Hawks spokesperson Capt Tebogo Thebe said the couple were arrested on allegations of fraud, forgery and uttering.

''It is alleged that between 2017 and 2018 the wife purchased two vehicles through a misrepresentation to WesBank by providing a fraudulent salary advice and letter of employment. It is further alleged that the husband made payments from his private bank account to the bank account of his wife.

"The amounts that were transferred corresponded with the fraudulent salary advice and in doing so WesBank was misled into thinking that payment was made by employer Mawele Construction,’’ said Thebe.

''As a result of the submission of false information and fraudulent documents on the application for finance, the suspects intentionally and unlawfully made a misrepresentation to WesBank to grant finance valued at R998,000,’’ said Thebe.

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