Pretoria – Two senior officials in the City of Tshwane mayoral office implicated in the misappropriation of an estimated R90 million to revamp the City Hall will face the music.
The implicated officials will undergo a disciplinary hearing for being complicit in breaking the law, inflating prices and allowing the contractor to fleece the city while destroying parts of the City Hall.
Mayor Solly Msimanga on Wednesday issued a stern warning to the alleged perpetrators, who were part of the project meant to upgrade the historic City Hall, but left it damaged.
Several officials would be subjected to internal disciplinary processes for the botched project, he said. Pending action was announced a week after Msimanga visited the building that remains unfinished despite millions spent on it.
The two senior directors in the mayor’s office, who cannot be named, served under former mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and were fingered among the perpetrators.
They had been served with notices to appear at internal disciplinary hearings scheduled to take place next month.
“The City Hall upgrade project was tainted by corruption and fraud at the very highest levels and was forced through and managed directly by the previous mayor’s office. The people of Tshwane were robbed of R90m through corruption and I am determined to see justice done.”
The internal disciplinary action comes after Msimanga laid criminal charges against those implicated in the alleged wrongdoing with the SAPS Commercial Crimes Unit. Investigations are ongoing.
Should they be found guilty, they would be compelled to repay every cent that was stolen from the people, the mayor said.
The City Hall project was part of a scheme by Ramokgopa’s office to sign off the R138m upgrade, Msimanga said.
He accused Ramokgopa of flouting the law and the metro’s own rules, including side-lining the chief financial officer and National Treasury.
Msimanga also said Ramokgopa failed to pass the budget for the project through the council as required by law.
Contractors had allegedly caused R18m damage to the musical organ at the City Hall.
“Instead, a multi-layered scheme was concocted to award the four-year R138m contract without proper approvals, Msimanga said, adding that “budgeting to a contractor – pre-selected by the mayor’s office – was R88m more than was required for the project”.
Another botched project, he said, costing residents of the capital more than R12m was an upgrade to the official mayoral residence, which remains unused.