IOL 07 June 2020

Johannesburg – Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found former Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba guilty of contravening supply chain management policies, conflict of interest and making irregular appointments.

In her preliminary report, Mkhwebane found that the former mayor irregularly hired former Joburg metro police chief David Tembe even though he did not meet the minimum requirements set out in the advert.

Mashaba resigned from the DA and as mayor after the official opposition elected former leader Helen Zille as federal council chairperson in October last year. He has since established a new political party, the People’s Dialogues.

Joburg mayor Geoff Makhubo said his administration received the “damning preliminary report”.

“We are in the process of studying it. We will make pronouncements in terms of what actions to take against Mashaba and others once the public protector has concluded her work.

“I must also say that we are not surprised. We have always argued that Mashaba preaches accountability but his actions completely contradict him,” Makhubo said.

According to the report, Tembe’s position, which was advertised in 2017, required a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification, but Mashaba recommended him despite him only having a 3-year diploma.

“According to the SAQA NQF rating as shown in evidence above, a 3-year diploma is not equivalent to a degree. As a result, it may be submitted that the City of Joburg did not shortlist Mr Tembe in accordance with the minimum requirements set out in the advertisement of the post.”

The appointment of Moses Mtileni as the City of Joburg’s executive director for housing was also found to have been irregular. According to the interim report, Mtileni was appointed despite scoring low during the interview.

“The panel recommended the 5th ranked candidate (Mtileni) to the post of the executive director housing, thereby eliminating the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th candidates in favour of Mtileni who had scored fifth in the interview process,” read the report.

Mashaba was also found to have irregularly funded a non-governmental organisation, Field Band Foundation (FBF), which deals with the scourge of drugs around Joburg, – which was reported to be his own project.

He also was found guilty of interest for soliciting free services from Deshmukh Akhter Alli, a former business associate from Letsatsi Financial Services (LFS).

Alli is also Connie Mashaba’s (wife to Mashaba) business partner and co-director in LFS. Grant Thornton Capital, a company which is 35% owned by Connie, was allegedly awarded a multi-million tender to undertake forensic investigations in the City of Joburg (CoJ).

“The conduct of Mr Mashaba as a councillor and mayor for that matter, of directly approaching, hand-picking and recommending to CoJ his former business partner namely Mr Deshmukh who still work directly with Mr Mashaba’s wife at LFS, was irreconcilable with clause 11, 2, 5, 1 and 5.2 of the Code of Councillors embedded in MSA (Municipal Systems Act,” reads the report.

Mkhwebane probed allegations of maladministration relating to irregular appointments, irregular salary increases, financial mismanagement, procurement irregularities and conflict of interests after receiving an anonymous complaint.

The report made scathing findings on the CoJ alleging that there was non-compliance with the Supply Chain Management regulations and recruitment processes.

“Due to the fact that some procurement and recruitments as shown in evidence were done in contravention of applicable regulatory and legal framework, this would have an inevitable corollary effect of ‘irregular expenditure’ and prejudice to the South African taxpayers.”

Mashaba on Saturday rejected the findings of the preliminary report, saying it contains “material errors of both law and fact”. He also lambasted the leaking of the report, saying it was criminal.

“Yesterday (Friday) I received queries from no fewer than five media houses, claiming to be in possession of the draft report by the public protector. This in spite of the fact that I have not yet furnished the public protector with my formal response to the draft report, as required by law. My legal team, which includes senior counsel, is currently preparing my official response to the draft report. It is clear to me that the draft report has been leaked,” Mashaba said.

“At the outset I wish to put it on record that I disagree with the findings of the draft report and I am of the opinion there are material errors of both law and fact.

“I have instructed my legal team of these errors which will be fully ventilated in my response to the public protector.

“My legal team shares my concerns. It is equally important to state that I do not know who leaked the draft report, however, I trust that the relevant authorities will endeavour to find out who did so.”

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