In the nine months that he has been mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba says his zero tolerance approach to fraud and corruption has led to the city uncovering R10bn in lost or misused funding.
Speaking at his first State of the City address as mayor, since his inauguration in August 2016, Mashaba said the internal investigations unit, which was set up in November 2016, had yielded fruitful results.
“Corruption steals from the poor and must be stopped. I have zero tolerance for corruption, in both the public and private sector,” he said.
“Following the appointment of General Shadrack Sibiya to head up our new internal investigations unit in the city, we have made solid inroads into exposing corruption and ensuring that those found wanting face the full might of the law.”
To date, the unit had exposed and prevented fraud and corruption estimated at R2bn across a number of different departments and entities, Mashaba said.
A total of 30 city employees have been arrested, 91 suspended, and three senior officials had resigned as a result of the unit’s investigations, he said.
“I have always said that the corruption exposed to date is only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the outright looting that was taking place in our city.”
“Today, I can confirm that over 300 cases are currently being investigated and the total monetary value alleged to be lost or misused as a result of fraud and corruption is over R10bn.
“This figure is utterly sickening,” Mashaba said.
He said the level of corruption had not taken place “in a vacuum” and the many turned a blind eye to it.
“This money should have been utilised to provide much needed service delivery to communities throughout Johannesburg – especially the poor.”
Mashaba said that every cent counted if the aim was to meet Johannesburg’s service delivery needs.
“That is why we will continue to vigorously pursue every allegation of corruption. The days of a gentle slap on the wrist, or redeployment to another department, are over.”
He said the city relied on institutions such as the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority to help them achieve the arrests and convictions they wanted, however, it had come to his attention that there had been interference in all of the city’s cases.
“I was left with no option but to lay a complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. I will never tolerate any form of interference in our fight against corruption.”
Mashaba said he would continue exposing wrongdoing, saying he would also ensure that those implicated were suspended, faces criminal prosecution, and that the money be recovered.