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Mashaba sacks senior official in City of Johannesburg

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba fires a senior official in City of Johannesburg. Image: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba fires a senior official in City of Johannesburg. Image: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

A manager who helped a company without relevant experience land a lucrative contract has been dismissed by the City of Johannesburg‚ mayor Herman Mashaba said on Thursday.

He said the official was a Section 56 Manager. These officials are protected by law that requires an extensive disciplinary process to be followed‚ Mashaba said.

A forensic investigation was initiated into the official's conduct after "the discovery of the highly problematic process during the capacitation of the Office of the Ombudsman"‚ the mayor said in a statement.

Arising from the disciplinary hearing‚ the official was found guilty of all charges which included fraud; contravention of Supply Management Policy and of the Municipal Finance Management Act; gross dereliction of duties; and gross negligence in the course of his duties.

Explaining the circumstances behind the charges‚ the DA's Mashaba said the previous ANC administration had wanted to establish the Office of the Ombudsman‚ and it appointed the official in charge of the processes leading to its launch.

"A company was appointed‚ without a competitive process‚ to establish the call centre for the Office of the Ombudsman. The company had no prior experience in setting up or operating a call centre.

Furthermore the Director of this appointed company had previously held business interests with another senior manager in the City‚ who has subsequently resigned. "Documents were fraudulently back-dated to circumvent Supply Chain Management and R6.5 million worth of capital budget was expended on the ICT infrastructure‚ which never became the property of the City at the expiry of the contract.

"The contract itself was also extended irregularly‚ incurring over R600‚000 in irregular expenditure after it had concluded.

"Residents will recall the failures of this call centre‚ and no penalties were instituted despite the poor level of service from the provider."

Mashaba further said: "When the residents of Johannesburg elected a new multi-party government in August 2016‚ they demanded an end to the protection of those guilty of wrongdoing. While the ANC continues to label such efforts as ‘purging’ we remain clear that those who are found guilty of improper conduct have no place in this government. There is no such thing as government money‚ it is public money entrusted to the city to benefit our residents."

He said he had instructed the city's group forensics unit to lay criminal charges against the now-dismissed official.

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