After spending the last month on a road-show visiting the various departments and entities of the City of Johannesburg to assess performance, executive mayor of Johannesburg Geoff Makhubo has concluded that Joburg has experienced a three-year setback under the DA-led coalition government because he believes they claimed easy victories.
During a Wednesday morning media briefing on service delivery, Makhubo said: “Today I can safely say that the claim by my predecessor and his party that ‘Where we govern, we govern better’ is definitely not true and a farce in the City of Johannesburg. Today we can confirm with certainty that the DA-led administration in the City of Johannesburg has brought the City to near financial collapse and created an environment where maladministration bordering on fraud and corruption has thrived.”
According to Makhubo, he had left the city’s budget lekgotla, which was still underway at the time of the briefing and was held to consider the adjustment budget in addition to discussing the 2020/21 budget principles and priorities of the new Government of Local Unity (GLU).
Among these principles and priorities are items such as; good governance, financial sustainability, integrated human settlements, job creation, sustainable environmental development and a safer city amongst others.
Makhubo went on to state that the city was on the brink of collapse and he owed this state of affairs to “populist policies and decision-making that has rendered the city dysfunctional in many critical areas of service delivery”.
As such, he said it was imperative that his administration focuses on key and immediate threats, particularly in the Emergency Services, Johannesburg Metro Police and on the insourcing of security officers in the city.
He went on to list a number of problems faced by the city, such as the fact that the Emergency Management Services department only had five fire engines to service 5 million residents of Johannesburg despite an amount of R172 million having been paid upfront to a service provider, in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), for the delivery of fire engines.
“To make matters worse, the specifications upon which this corrupt procurement was made, do not meet the operational requirements of the EMS. To date, not a single fire engine has been delivered to the City. The nineteen auxiliary services vehicles delivered do not meet the specifications of the EMS and are currently being retrofitted, at an additional and unbudgeted cost of R48 million, to suit the requirements of EMS,” said Makhubo.
He acknowledged that although insourcing was a council resolution taken in January 2018 to insource security officers, as the GLU they have found some serious irregularities in the process of insourcing.
“The targeted number of officers to be insourced was 2,910. These are officers who at the date of the decision were employees of a security company and deployed to the city. Currently, we have insourced 5,021 security officers. 2,110 more officers than targeted. The additional 2,110 people employed under the guise of insourcing were illegally recruited and smuggled into the city’s employ without any valid and legal process of employment,” he explained.
He labelled the aforementioned discrepancy as “abuse of the city’s processes to meet party political ends”.
Additionally, Makhubo stated that preliminary investigations have brought to light serious violations of the MFMA and SCM processes and as a result, the fleet contracts account for the high and irregular expenditure in the city over the last two years.
Makhubo concluded by assuring Joburg residents that corruption and maladministration they discovered during these investigations would not go unpunished.
“We have acted against two senior officials who are on suspension pending a disciplinary process.”