GOOD party revokes councillor's membership amid allegations of financial irregularities accreditation

2nd October 2023 By: News24Wire

GOOD party revokes councillor's membership amid allegations of financial irregularities accreditation

Recent explosive developments have exposed the GOOD party's internal conflict.

On Sunday, the party revoked councillor Donovan Saptoe's membership, and accused him of failing to provide an account of party funds. Just last week, however, Saptoe had fired a blistering missive to the party's national leadership, calling for the suspension of secretary-general Brett Herron on grounds of misconduct.

Sam Shabane, the party's national chairperson, said on Sunday that Saptoe, a councillor in the Garden Route District, had failed to account for R162 000 of party funds.

"In July 2023, GOOD participated in three by-elections in George. Saptoe was the campaign manager. A post-election audit of the by-election financial records [revealed] that R162 000 of the campaign budget had not been accounted for. In addition, several suppliers to the campaign, whose costs have been claimed as paid for by Saptoe, were not paid, and the party has had to pay them again," he said.

Shabane said last month that the party had instructed its attorneys to issue a letter of demand for the R162 000 to Saptoe and his wife Roslyn Saptoe, who acted as the administrator for the campaign, failing which summons would be issued against them.

"Despite several promises to account for the R162 000, Saptoe and his wife have been unable, or have failed, to do so. The party’s attorneys were instructed to issue summons against Saptoe and his wife, and the matter will also be reported to the Hawks," he said.

Saptoe, last week Friday, sent a scathing letter to the national leadership of the party about Herron, and called for him to be suspended. 

In the letter, which News24 has seen, Saptoe accused Herron of acting inconsistently in executing the lawful policies of the party and claimed that members were not treated equally and fairly. 

"The secretary-general has failed to perform his functions in good faith; he did not act diligently, honestly and in a transparent manner," he said. 

Saptoe said Herron had caused huge reputational damage to the party and cited an ongoing investigation by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) over alleged failure to disclose an amount of R900 000 donated to the party. 

Back in June, former member Shaun August lodged a complaint with the IEC accusing GOOD of not disclosing to the commission that it had received a R900 000 donation for its election campaign costs ahead of the 2021 local government elections, as required by the Political Party Funding Act 6 of 2018.

August was expelled from the party following a "sex party" scandal during a hotly contested by-election in the Cape Winelands in 2022.

Political parties are required to declare all donations exceeding R100 000 from single donors in all quarters of each financial year.

Saptoe wrote that although the matter was being investigated by the IEC, the alleged conduct had caused huge reputational damage and the credibility and integrity of the movement had been compromised

"The fact that no internal investigations have been undertaken to get to the truth of this allegation is a grave concern to me and only leaves us as members in the dark," he said.

Saptoe accused Herron of abusing the party's resources.  

"Through his actions, Good has moved backwards and continuously disappointed our predominantly coloured members who have expectations from us as a party," he added.

Samantha Jackson, GOOD's acting media manager, said: "GOOD's national leadership can confirm receipt of the complaint."

Saptoe told News24 that he was not even informed that he was expelled. 

"I'm shocked, to say the least. I was not expecting the party to do this. I have not received any termination letter. I have just seen the media statement," he said. 

Saptoe added that he had no idea about the party funds. 

"I have no idea about the R162 000 the party is talking about. The accountants the party uses are also councillors, and how can you use the same people as accountants who are councillors? There is no independence or objectivity; we were busy sorting out the accounting problems," he said. 

"I will do everything to protect my reputation. This is a smear campaign against my good name; I will defend myself," he said.

Meanwhile, Herron said Saptoe will receive two summonses.

"One for the missing party money and one for his letter of lies," Herron said.