JOHANNESBURG mayor Herman Mashaba’s attempt to promote clean governance has been met with reservations following the recall of the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for finance.
Mashaba made the announcement on Monday that MMC for finance Rabelani Dagada was removed from his position and placed under suspension.
“Today, in consultation with the DA Federal Executive, I have taken the extraordinary step of removing Cllr Rabelani Dagada as the MMC of Finance in the City of Johannesburg. Cllr Dagada has also been suspended by the Federal Executive as a Councillor, pending an enquiry of the DA’s Federal Legal Commission,” Mashaba said in a statement.
According to Mashaba, late last year, there were reports which alleged serious activities of undue influence and nepotism against Dagada. Mashaba said at the time, he immediately initiated a forensic investigation through an external company, which was concluded last week Friday.
“The forensic investigation found that Cllr Dagada has breached the City’s Code of Conduct by not declaring his interests and, subsequently, conflicts of interest with individuals closely associated with him. Further to this, the forensic investigation has found Cllr Dagada to have been involved in price fixing with a service provider to the City, and in the process acted against his sworn duty to our residents,” said Mashaba.
According to the investigation, Dagada acted in a manner which has sought, either directly or indirectly, to benefit service providers and officials closely associated with him.
“An unforgivable element of the undue influence, according to the investigation, relates to the unfair treatment of officials who were pressured to authorise procurement deals to the benefit of those closely associated. I am proud to say that these officials stood firm in their convictions and refused to do what they knew was wrong. I take a small measure of comfort in this, knowing that we have begun to achieve a professionalised civil service when principled officials, acting in the interests of our residents, are defended and those alleged of wrongdoing are dealt with decisively,” said Mashaba.
He said the city has initiated disciplinary action against the implicated officials, who will face disciplinary enquiries for their roles in the breaches of legislation and governance procedures.
ANC Johannesburg spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said Mashaba’s firing of Dagada was a feeble attempt at side-tracking from the actual issue at hand, which is the mismanagement of the City’s finances under his watch. He said Mashaba’s actions were a desperate attempt to portray himself as a saviour.
“The imminent firing of councillor Dagada comes amid continued problems in the city’s revenue department regarding the escalating billing crisis, which in the words of mayor Mashaba ‘has reached unprecedented proportions’. The lousy leadership of the DA has seen R284 million in grants being sent back to National Treasury as it was unspent by the DA administration during the 2016/2017 financial year. Mashaba and the DA are now sitting at 44.62% in terms of debt to ratio income, meaning, the DA administration will not be able to borrow money from financial institutions to carry out infrastructure projects. This administration has taken away money meant for the tarring of roads and stormwater projects in Orange Farm, Doornkop and Ivory Park, as well as money from the infrastructure upgrades of hostels,” he said.
The ANC has been hounding Mashaba over his leadership qualities, accusing him of mismanaging funds and putting the municipality under dire situations. The party said under Mashaba’s leadership, the executive management team of the revenue department has changed three times in 12 months, he has destabilised City Power, a key revenue contributor, by dismissing the Managing Director. Matongo added that Mashaba also fired the City’s group chief financial officer.
“He is also responsible for weakening the Department that deals with the strategic implementation plans of the City, which has resulted in the majority of the executive being in acting positions. Although the DA is finally acknowledging that there is indeed a problem, they are still failing to deal with the source of the problem, Herman Mashaba. The ANC Greater Johannesburg Region thus calls for the DA to fire Mayor Mashaba, who is the source of the current financial crisis facing the City of Johannesburg with immediate effect,” said Matongo.