The forensic investigation into alleged kickbacks paid to a slush fund account belonging to the Economic Freedom Fighters from a R1 billion City of Johannesburg fleet tender will soon be completed, mayor Herman Mashaba said on Saturday.
”It is almost done … it was the worst kind of nonsense I have ever heard in my life. I am telling you that when that story came out, it was the very first time I heard about that company [that won the fleet tender]. When it comes to the EFF, I only engage with them when it comes to issues of running the city, not on anything else.
“We declared corruption enemy number one when we formed the coalition government,” Mashaba said on the sidelines of the DA’s Phetogo rally in Dobsonville, Soweto, ahead of the May 8 general elections.
According to a media report by investigative reporting unit AmaBhungane published late last year, the R1 billion contract was allegedly manipulated to benefit the EFF and its leader Julius Malema.
Financial records allegedly showed that winning company Afrirent transferred R500 000 in two tranches to Mahuna, a company allegedly fronted by Malema’s cousin Matsobane John Mahuna, but used as a “slush fund” for the party and Malema, Amabhungane reported.
Mashaba launched the investigation in November last year. The EFF, along with Malema, have denied any involvement in the contract.
The mayor enjoys full support from the EFF, with the red berets occasionally referring to the former businessman as ”EFF mayor”. While Democratic Alliance mayors in other coalition metros such as Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay faced the EFF’s wrath in council chambers, Mashaba’s political career in the Johannesburg council has been smooth sailing since he took over in 2016.
The EFF’s appreciation of the mayor saw Malema saying his party might ask Mashaba to stay on as mayor even without the DA. Mashaba said he did not know what Malema meant by saying that, and thanked the red berets for their support in the ”pro-poor” coalition.
”I have no idea of what he [Malema] meant, I saw that interview. I feel humbled by the EFF and for believing in me, because I also believe in them. They really play a role in assisting me run the City of Johannesburg. EFF is not just about votes for me, it is about strategic thinking. I committed to this government that I will run a pro-poor administration, and without the EFF support I would never have been able to achieve half of what we achieved.”
He turned down his party’s suggestion that he run for Gauteng premier, he said, because he ”still has a lot of work to do” at the metro, at least until 2021. Provincial legislature member Solly Msimanga is now the DA premier candidate.
Turning to the African National Congress, which became an opposition party in the council after the 2016 local government polls, Mashaba said the party was ”hijacked by a criminal syndicate”.
”ANC is not a political party, it is the biggest criminal syndicate in the world. ANC is going to be in the kind of history – that of a political party that turned into a criminal syndicate. It hurts me that the party I once voted for, it hurts me to see Mandela’s party hijacked by a criminal syndicate. The black youth are the ones who should free our country from the ANC… they are the ones who should free this country through the ballot paper,” he said.
After the elections, the city will present a proposal to establish and run its own courts, hospitals, and prisons, he said.
”Big cities such as New York [in the US] do that. If that happens for us, within six months of completion of a jail, ANC members will be locked up based on the overwhelming evidence on how they looted the country,” he said.
– African News Agency (ANA)