Hot on the heels of the DA’s announcement on Sunday it would be charging City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba yesterday suspended a member of the mayoral committee for finance, Dr Rabelani Dagada.
“The forensic investigation has found that Dagada breached the city’s code of conduct by not declaring his interests and, subsequently, conflicts of interest with individuals closely associated with him,” Mashaba said.
“Furthermore, the forensic investigation found Dagada to have been involved in price-fixing with a service provider to the city and, in the process, he acted against his sworn duty to our residents.”
Mashaba said he would be charging Dagada criminally. Dagada has vowed to “do anything possible to clear my name … and it shall be cleared”.
He is an associate professor at the Vaal University of Technology, a professor of practice in digital commerce at the University of Johannesburg and policy fellow at the South African Institute of Race Relations.
He is also the author of several books and holds a PhD in information systems from the University of South Africa. “These charges are fabricated,” Dagada said.
“Since June last year, the mayor wanted to remove me from the mayoral committee but didn’t have sufficient political support. “This is the fifth time he has tried to get me out of office.”
Regarding the price-fixing allegation, Dagada said a company dealing with e-billing had contacted the mayor’s office, which had instructed Dagada’s office to meet the company.
“I was never there. At the meeting, the company presented its proposal, which came at a much higher price and also had cutbacks. So those who are accusing me are saying I increased the price so I could receive a cut,” Dagada said.
“But I was never in any meetings [with the company]. I understand there were several meetings, but I never attended any of them. Nobody can produce a register of the company with my name on it. I’ve never met them outside the office. All this is fabricated.”
He called Mashaba a dictator, adding: “He wants to be surrounded by yes people but, unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. When I don’t agree I tell him so, and he doesn’t take it very well.”
Shortly after Dagada’s suspension was announced, Cape Town city manager Achmat Ebrahim’s resignation was announced by De Lille.
De Lille and Ebrahim are facing myriad charges under the umbrella of “extremely serious governance failures”.
The DA’s upper echelon seemingly has a troubled history.
DA Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has been in hot water for calling for the criminalisation of people deliberately spreading HIV, calling people coming from the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape for education “refugees”, presiding over a failed merger with fledging political party Agang and seemingly defending colonialism, which she denied.
Dianne Kohler Barnard was demoted as shadow minister of police after sharing a Facebook post saying that life in South Africa was better under former apartheid president PW Botha.
Kohler Barnard is back in her position and while Zille handed over leadership of the DA to Mmusi Maimane, she remains provincial premier.
De Lille is well-known for her stance against corruption, having been a whistleblower on widescale corruption in the arms deal. She is also a member of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption and the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption.
In 2004, she was awarded the Old Mutual South African Leadership Award in the category of woman leadership.