Gauteng | 7 June 2017, 09:30am
Rapula Moatshe
Pretoria – Television viewers watched in disbelief as allegations that the former ANC administration in the capital city spent millions of taxpayers’ money on shoe polish, light bulbs and other everyday items.Investigators apparently unearthed corruption, gross misconduct and wasteful expenditure in respect of overinflated prices of various items or goods procured. These included transformers, Handy Andy, paint, powder soap, Sunlight liquid soap, shovels, toolboxes, wall plugs and chlorine.

The ANC administration at the time was found to have spent R300 on light bulbs that would have cost R79 at wholesale price.

Incumbent mayor Solly Msimanga has declared it’s payback time. He has roped in two old hands in an investigation to crack down on corruption allegedly committed during the previous ANC administration, headed by then mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

The team will be deployed to tackle cases of corruption related to, among others:

  • The shoe polish scandal
  • The City Hall renovations
  • The mayoral mansion debacle

Mayoral spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi said the investigators were highly experienced, but declined to reveal their identities for security reasons.

He said the intention was to form a crime-busting unit of five investigators within the mayor’s office.

The unit will complement the city’s existing Forensic Services Division tasked to deal with corruption and fraud cases involving city officials.

The forensic division also focused on cases reported by members of the public – regardless of the magnitude of the reported cases.

Msimanga announced during the State of the Capital Address in April that the mayoral house – which he dubbed the “house of corruption” – would be sold.

The trail of corruption at the mayor’s house became apparent after the renovation cost – initially set at R1.2million – suddenly sky-rocketed to R12m without any proper explanation.

The mayoral house, located in Muckleneuk, was inherited by the municipality from the defunct Pretoria City Council under the apartheid regime.

Msimanga refused to move into the house after he assumed authority last year.

This was because he perceived it to be a “house of corruption”.

The bid to sell the house would go ahead despite the municipality being unlikely to regain the R12m used in its controversial renovations.

The renovations were part of the R132m refurbishment project, which included the City Hall, commissioned by Ramokgopa.

In October last year Msimanga said two senior officials implicated in the misappropriation of an estimated R90m to revamp the City Hall would face the music.

At the time, Msimanga said the implicated officials would undergo a disciplinary hearing.

This was due to them being complicit in breaking the law, inflating prices and allowing the contractor to fleece the city while destroying parts of the hall, the mayor said.

They were part of the project meant to upgrade the historic City Hall, but left it damaged instead.

Mgobozi said investigations into the cases of alleged corruption were still under way.

The newly-appointed investigators would deal exclusively with corruption cases that require prioritisation.

According to Msimanga, the appointments were made to assist the city to root out corruption.

Also, to ensure communities were not robbed of quality services and a decent standard of living by thieves masquerading as public servants.

“The move to add the two skilled special investigators ought to be celebrated because it allows for more transparency.

It will also bolster our efforts to ultimately stop corruption,” Msimanga said.

The mayoral office would also go a long way to give effect to the commitment to stabilise the city and its finances.

Msimanga congratulated the new appointees, saying he trusted that the city would stop corruption by exposing and bringing to book those found to be contravening the rule of law.

Masimanga said they would continuously investigate and evaluate deals where taxpayers’ monies were used.

“This DA-led government is committed to transparent and accountable governance. We have zero tolerance for corruption.”

Pretoria News