Are Joburg councillors cashing in on disasters?

Herman Mashaba.nto
Herman Mashaba.nto

The City of Johannesburg is to investigate allegations that councillors have been collecting donations to help residents affected by natural disasters outside official structures‚ Mayor Herman Mashaba said on Monday.

“As such‚ I have requested the Speaker of Council to investigate these allegations and that the proper procedure for collection (of) donations be explained to councillors‚” Mashaba said in a statement.

Mashaba on Monday morning issued an update on the city’s response to the damage caused by violent storms‚ largely in the southern and western parts of the city‚ which have been declared disaster areas. Repairs were estimated to cost R186.5 million.

The damage includes collapsed roofs and boundary walls of 3‚152 households in Protea Glen‚ Lawley‚ Braamfischerville‚ Slovo Park‚ Snake Park‚ Doornkop‚ Rugby Club Information Settlement‚ Meadowlands‚ Westbury‚ Alexandra‚ Lefhureng and Fleurhof.

Mashaba said the city was on track to conclude an investigation into the disaster by the end of the month.

“With respect to the City’s Group Risk Advisory Services’ (GRAS) full risk assessment of the damage caused by the storm‚ the services of independent structural engineers and quantity surveyors have been secured‚” he said.

“Work has already begun on engineer testing on sample of properties affected by the storm. This assessment process will seek to establish whether the construction of the worst-affected homes was up to the appropriate standard.”

GRAS has been tasked with:

• Establishing the identities of contractors involved in the construction of some of the buildings;

• The City’s role in issuing certificates of occupation that affirmed the safety of the buildings; and

• The role of financial institutions‚ such as lenders and banks‚ who fund construction of some of the buildings.

“I am pleased to announce that a notice for publication of the declared disaster has now been completed and will be submitted to Government Printers for publication. I have instructed the City’s legal team to ensure that this process is expedited‚” Mashaba said.

“The City’s Disaster Management Centre is further concluding a business plan which will be submitted to the Provincial and National Disaster Management Centres and National Treasury for access to municipal disaster grants. This is grant money which is to be used for the purpose of undertaking post-disaster relief assistance and reconstruction efforts.”

Mashaba said relief efforts in affected communities were ongoing‚ based on a needs analysis.

Residents wishing to make donations to those affected by the storm can call (011 674 0038). Cash donations can also be made to: City of Johannesburg Disaster Fund Standard Bank Account No: 000 00 00 189 855 Branch Code: 000205

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