Suspended Limpopo DA leader Jacques Smalle’s woes appear to have worsened after being accused of nepotism by party insiders. The embattled leader was suspended earlier this year following fraud and tax evasion allegations. Now accusations that he gave his friends jobs within the province have surfaced from party insiders who preferred not to be named.
It is alleged that Smalle hired Karla van Rensburg, who was working for a non-profit organisation (NPO) but was later charged with fraud and removed from the bar as a lawyer. According to these allegations, despite her criminal record, Smalle appointed Van Rensberg in 2012 as a constituency officer in which he was the political head.
It has also been reported that in the build-up to the 2014 national elections, Smalle had promised Van Rensburg a job in the DA Limpopo Legislature as a researcher, despite the party already having staff in that position. She was appointed as a researcher in 2014 and promoted to chief of staff in 2017. She is also the first approver and authoriser of funds for the party in the province’s legislature, and was the approver of most of those payments in the tax evasion scandal.
It is also alleged that Smalle roped in his son Pierre Smalle, who is being interviewed for a councillor’s position in the Makhado Local Municipality, where Smalle is the constituency head. Pending the outcome of the October local government elections and his rank on the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) list, Pierre may be sworn in as a councillor.
Shikara Maharaj, the wife of Risham Maharaj who is a chief ally of Smalle and current MPL, is to be interviewed for a councillor’s position in the Polokwane Municipality where Smalle is also the constituency head, pending the outcome of the upcoming local government elections and her rank on the IEC list. She may be sworn in as a councillor.
Smalle is expected to appear before the party’s Federal Legal Commission (FLC) today to face charges including tax fraud. However, it is not clear if nepotism is included on his charge sheet.
DA spokesperson, Siviwe Gwarube said that all these allegations are the subject of the Federal Legal Commission investigation that is ongoing. Gwarube added that a hearing is imminent and that after all the processes are done a finding will be made with regards to Smalle. She said for now, Smalle remains suspended from all party processes and activities.
Earlier this year, a national publication reported that Smalle was suspended after the party’s FLC found that he had been dodging the taxman by getting his tax allowance paid into his aide’s bank account. The DA in Limpopo has since been put under administration.
Federal Council deputy chairperson James Masango and MP Annelie Lotriet are the current joint administrators.