Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has questioned whether the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) was fighting to keep corrupt officials in their jobs, or if it was going to work with the City in its efforts aimed at rooting out corruption.
This comes after Samwu on Friday accused Mashaba of “grandstanding” after he announced the imminent arrest of 106 allegedly corrupt officials at the city’s various licensing centres.
Mashaba on Tuesday announced the arrests of four officials and further imminent arrests, adding that the implicated officials were identified through an anti-graft sweep by the city’s internal corruption-busting unit.
According to Mashaba, the unit had identified 972 allegedly fraudulent transactions with a total value of R14.7 million that occurred between January 2008 and February 2016. A total of 106 allegedly corrupt licensing centre officials were to be arrested soon, he said.
In a statement on Friday, Mashaba said Samwu would do well to understand that internal disciplinary processes and criminal cases were two completely separate matters.
“And while the Hawks believed that the case is strong enough to arrest the allegedly corrupt officials, we will also urgently pursue the suspension of all implicated employees. We have not disclosed any names of implicated employees to protect their rights,” Mashaba said.
“The previous administration turned a blind eye to these corrupt practices and neglected to act in the best interest of the people of this City by properly investigating cases and implementing their findings and recommendations.
Mashaba said since coming into office in August last year, he had been inundated with investigations that were concluded, and yet no action was taken by the previous administration of the African National Congress (ANC).
“While it is true that many investigations did commence before we took office, there can be no doubt that that we are taking action that the previous administration wouldn’t, couldn’t and didn’t,” Mashaba said.
“Samwu is demanding that this secrecy approach is maintained, but the people of our City voted for change. I will never keep such cases from the residents of Joburg and they have every right to know when forensic investigations reveal that the people’s money has been stolen.”
Mashaba said if Samwu was serious about the fight against corruption in Johannesburg, they would back the new administration, which was implementing a zero-tolerance approach to corruption.
At least eight suspects have already appeared in court, and their cases were remanded to 14 February at the Specialised Commercial Crime Court. Bail has been set at R5 000 each.
– African News Agency