City of Joburg clears company of ‘political influence’ over R1bn contract

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

‘None of the city employees involved in the procurement process were coerced or influenced to award the contract to Afrirent.’

The City of Joburg has cleared a fleet management company of “alleged political influence” after it secured a R1 billion contract from the city to supply 2,732 non-specialised vehicles such as sedans, bakkies and minibuses to be used by departments, particularly metro police, City Power and Johannesburg Water.

According to a forensic investigation report by Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS), Afrirent Fleet Management was investigated by the city for alleged political interference in the awarding of the tender through a Regulation 32 process of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

This allows municipalities to procure goods or services under a contract secured by another organ of the state.

“According to interviews conducted with the majority of the role players, decisions taken regarding the utilisation of the Regulation 32 process were by officials of the city and they were not influenced politically,” said GFIS.

Another professional opinion obtained by the city from Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi Attorneys also found that the city had complied with the procedural requirements of the MFMA Regulation 32 and its own supply chain management policy when it appointed Afrirent.

Afrirent CEO Senzo Tsabedze said the company had been vindicated of any wrongdoing despite damaging media reports in November last year which prompted Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba to launch a forensic investigation.

“Based on these media reports, the city took a decision to investigate. Afrirent understands that the city’s investigation reports, legal and forensic, revealed that there was no wrongdoing on Afrirent’s part and that none of the city employees involved in the procurement process were coerced or influenced to award the contract to Afrirent,” said Tsabedze.

In November last year, the amaBunghane investigative unit reported that Afrirent, a company which bid for a tender to the value of R1.26 billion from the city, transferred R500,000 to Mahuna, a company owned by the cousin of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.

The amaBunghane article reported that Mahuna was allegedly used as a “slush fund” by the EFF and Malema but the EFF has publicly denied influencing the fleet tender.

National spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told Daily Maverick to ask those implicated and let him deal with queries directed at the party.

“We don’t know what you’re talking about. None of your questions have anything to do with the EFF and its leadership,” said Ndlozi.

“The individuals and companies you mention can speak for themselves.”

Mashaba was unavailable for comment.

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