Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba launches probe into 'looting' in the Alexandra Renewal Project
City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba has launched a probe into the controversial Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP).
In a hard-hitting media statement released on Tuesday, Mashaba said he has received confirmation from the city's head of anti-corruption unit, Major-General Shadrack Sibiya, about the launch of the forensic investigation.
"Information has been brought to the multi-party government's attention that the ARP, which was launched in 2001, served as a slush for the ANC, the City of Johannesburg under the previous governments and and the provincial government," writes Mashaba.
"Members of the ANC were employed to drive the ARP in Alexandra. From the information we've received, their task was to direct funding to ANC-aligned companies that under-delivered on housing and channelled money back to the ANC.
Residents of Alexandra have been protesting for service delivery for over a week now, and a drive into the township reveals just how deep in rubbish Alexandra really is. TimesLive went into the community to find out what issues residents face.
"There can be no question that the R16-billion set aside by national and provincial government for the ARP has been looted and used by the ANC as a tool for self-enrichment," he alleges.
"This is precisely why the ANC, premier (David) Makhura and President (Cyril) Ramaphosa are so desperate to place grievances of the people of Alexandra at the door of the City of Johannesburg."
Mashaba made the allegations following a week of protest by community members of Alexandra, who were unhappy about a range of service delivery issues.
The protesting community members, who were being led by ANC councillors, on Monday marched to the City of Johannesburg's office in Sandton but Mashaba was not available to meet them.
Makhura, however, went to the township on Tuesday and accepted the community's memorandum of grievances. He also promised that he would request the Auditor-General to investigate the ARP. Ramaphosa is expected to pay the township a visit on Thursday.
Continues Mashaba: "I place no stock in premier Makhura's announcement of an investigation into the ARP. He has served as the premier of Gauteng since 2014, and has never once taken any interest in the matter until now.
Mashaba said he has met with Makhura and former MEC for housing Paul Mashatile on the issue of "a statement of intent which was signed with great fanfare on the eve of the 2016 local government elections".
"I've asked where the funding is to come from for the massive promises made in that document. At no time did the provincial government take any interest in these matters. Our group forensics unit has a track record of credible investigations and will get to the bottom of the corruption that has robbed the residents of Alexandra of the much-needed developm in the area.
"I will include investigating the role of provincial and national governments in the suspected looting alongside that of the previous governments in Johannesburg," he said.