ANC calls for Joburg mayor to re­sign

Claims he cov­ered up for fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­ity of MMC

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

THE ANC has called for Her­man Mashaba to re­sign as Joburg mayor amid ac­cu­sa­tions he cov­ered up fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­i­ties al­legedly com­mit­ted by mem­ber of the may­oral com­mit­tee (MMC) Sharon Peetz, who was fired on Wed­nes­day.

The MMC is ac­cused of buy­ing a plane ticket for her mother to Spain on the city’s ac­count.

ANC Joburg spokesper­son Jolidee Ma­tongo said the al­le­ga­tions against Peetz had been dis­cussed at a coun­cil meet­ing.

Ma­tongo said Peetz’s fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­i­ties were un­cov­ered when the travel agent sent an in­voice to the city for pay­ment.

“Dili­gent of­fi­cials no­ticed the fraud. The travel agent said Peetz had in­structed her to book her mother and pay them us­ing the city’s ac­counts. Peetz, dur­ing the meet­ing, de­nied the al­le­ga­tion. The mayor then se­cretly asked her to pay the agent, which she did not do. It was only when the agent de­manded money from the coun­cil that Mashaba fired her.”

He added that the mayor fired her be­cause he was about to be ex­posed for hav­ing made an agree­ment with her to cover up the gross mis­con­duct.

“We are not im­pressed by the mayor’s pub­lic­ity stunt. He pre­tends to be a man of in­tegrity, yet he tried to cover up by agree­ing with the coun­cil­lor to pay back the money. We call on the mayor to step down as he was part of the cover up.”

Ma­tongo said Mashaba had cov­ered for Peetz be­cause she worked with him as a busi­ness part­ner in some ven­tures in eThek­wini.

He claims it was Peetz who in­tro­duced the mayor to DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

Mashaba announced his de­ci­sion to re­move Peetz from the may­oral com­mit­tee on grounds of sus­pected mis­con­duct.

The fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive of the DA has agreed to this move, he said.

The mayor, said Peetz, would be re­ferred to the party for con­sid­er­a­tion of fur­ther dis­ci­plinary pro­cesses to de­ter­mine her cul­pa­bil­ity.

Dur­ing a coun­cil meet­ing ear­lier this year, an al­le­ga­tion was lev­elled against Peetz that she had acted ir­reg­u­larly in ar­rang­ing for a fam­ily mem­ber to ac­com­pany her on an of­fi­cial trip to Spain.

Through a foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­ducted at the time, it was de­ter­mined that the city had not in­curred any costs for the fam­ily mem­ber. It was, there­fore, de­ter­mined that the al­le­ga­tions at the time were with­out merit.

“Re­cent ev­i­dence has been brought to our at­ten­tion that the proof of pay­ment, be­tween Peetz and the travel agent, which the coun­cil­lor had pro­vided to my of­fice as proof she had paid, was al­legedly fal­si­fied. Fur­ther foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been un­der­taken into proof of pay­ment. The money re­mains al­legedly owed to the travel agent. The city has not in­curred any losses.

“Through her ac­tions, Peetz mis­led me, the coun­cil and res­i­dents of Joburg.”

The mayor said he had made it clear that un­der his lead­er­ship the city would not tol­er­ate cor­rup­tion.

“Ir­re­spec­tive of one’s role in the city, and ir­re­spec­tive of your po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion, there will be ac­count­abil­ity for wrong­do­ing. The com­fort that I of­fer the res­i­dents of our city is that for the first time, our res­i­dents will learn of such acts of mis­con­duct and they will see ac­tion taken,” he said.

While a de­ci­sion is con­sid­ered for a new MMC of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment to be ap­pointed, MMC Dr Mpho Pha­latse will stand in.

In Fe­bru­ary, Mashaba fired MMC for en­vi­ron­men­tal and in­fra­struc­ture ser­vices, Anthony Still, be­cause they held dif­fer­ent views on how to deal with al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion and fraud at City Power.

NO NON­SENSE: Joburg mayor Her­man Mashaba.

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