No le­niency in war on cor­rup­tion, warns mayor

Re­veals foren­sic re­port find­ings

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ANNA COX

LAWLESSNESS in the City of Joburg has, for too long, been al­lowed to be a part of its fab­ric, but cul­prits and ben­e­fi­cia­ries are now go­ing to face the full might of the law.

So said mayor Her­man Mashaba speak­ing about two ma­jor break­throughs in the fight against cor­rup­tion yesterday.

For­mer can­di­date val­uer Mbali Ma­clare was ar­rested af­ter it was found that she, and a deputy direc­tor who has been sus­pended, de­lib­er­ately un­der­val­ued 22 prop­er­ties in the city.

The fraud­u­lent ad­just­ments and changes of the mar­ket val­ues of th­ese prop­er­ties by in­valid mu­nic­i­pal ob­jec­tion out­come let­ters re­sulted in the loss of an es­ti­mated R40-mil­lion worth of rev­enue for Joburg over five fi­nan­cial years.

“Dis­grace­fully, this foren­sic re­port, like so many oth­ers, had been swept un­der the car­pet by the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion and kept from the pub­lic eye,” Mashaba said.

“The first I knew of it was when (in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism TV pro­gramme) Carte Blanche brought it to my at­ten­tion. De­spite this re­port be­ing hid­den from me, I am pleased to state that the new ad­min­is­tra­tion im­me­di­ately took ac­tion,” he said.

The mayor said the city would also be go­ing af­ter pri­vate com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als who worked with th­ese of­fi­cials “to erode the in­tegrity of the city and steal from our res­i­dents”.

Th­ese in­di­vid­u­als in the pri­vate sec­tor will also face the full might of the law and will have to pay back the money.

This fol­lows an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the city’s in­ter­nal foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tions unit, headed by Gen­eral Shadrack Sibiya.

Ma­clare is ex­pected to ap­pear in the Spe­cialised Com­mer­cial Crimes Court on Jan­uary 23 on charges of fraud and cor­rup­tion.

In another in­ci­dent yesterday, it was dis­cov­ered that eight for­eign na­tional em­ploy­ees of the Joburg Theatre were work­ing with fake or ex­pired asy­lum and work per­mits in the ca­ter­ing and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tions of the theatre.

Mashaba was handed the re­port af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Nexus Foren­sic Ser­vices un­cov­ered ev­i­dence show­ing that six asy­lum per­mits held by im­pli­cated em­ploy­ees were fraud­u­lent while two other per­mits were said to be have ex­pired by early June 2016.

A case of fraud has been opened with the SAPS and the ar­rest of those im­pli­cated is ex­pected soon.

Mashaba said he had also writ­ten to Min­is­ter of Home Af­fairs Malusi Gi­gaba, no­ti­fy­ing him of the re­port’s con­tents.

South Africa aimed to be a wel­com­ing, safe and in­clu­sive desti­na­tion with boun­ti­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties for all, he added.

“For us to re­alise this goal, the rule of law must be re­spected by all those within our bor­ders,” he said.

Also, ear­lier this month, eight li­cens­ing and test­ing sta­tion em­ploy­ees were ar­rested and have now been re­leased on R5 000 bail each.

A fur­ther 98 are ex­pected to be ar­rested in the near fu­ture.

Mashaba said fur­ther ar­rests on this mat­ter were im­mi­nent.

He said money paid out for cor­rup­tion could have been used to pro­vide ba­sic and much­needed ser­vices such as wa­ter, elec­tric­ity and refuse re­moval to the poor and most vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents of our city.

“The peo­ple of Joburg have voted for change that brings an end to cor­rup­tion, cre­ates jobs and de­liv­ers bet­ter ser­vices, and we will not al­low self-serv­ing city of­fi­cials, res­i­dents and pri­vate com­pa­nies to con­tinue to ben­e­fit them­selves at the ex­pense of all other res­i­dents,” he said.

Mashaba con­grat­u­lated Sibiya and his team and ac­knowl­edged the role and sup­port of the SAPS and the prose­cut­ing author­ity in this case.

TOUGH TALK­ING: Joburg mayor Her­man Mashaba

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