No leniency in war on corruption, warns mayor
Reveals forensic report findings
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