ActionSA notes with disdain a statement issued yesterday by Gauteng COGTA MEC Lebogang Maile purporting to inquire into the terms for the departure of the City Manager of Johannesburg.
Maile has made it abundantly, clear during the tenure of the coalition government I led, that his actions are driven by politics rather than fulfilling his responsibility within the Provincial Government.
Maile’s sudden concern for the terms of the City Manager’s departure is more likely the product of internal politics of the ANC in Gauteng rather than a serious concern for the residents of Johannesburg.
If Maile was genuinely concerned, where was he when Mayor Geoff Makhubo was implicated in state capture and corruption? The revelations of the State Capture commission have detailed that Makhubo was contracted by Regiments Capital to oversee its interests in the City of Johannesburg, to the tune of R37 million, while he was the MMC for Finance overseeing the same contract on behalf of the City.
Of great interest to ActionSA is the reference to an investigative report, authored by former City Manager Trevor Fowler, that will be unveiled within the next few days. One can only assume that this relates to a 2019 statement by Maile that he would investigate allegations of wrongdoing cross all Gauteng municipalities.
ActionSA places on record two important considerations relating to this alleged report and the involvement of Trevor Fowler in its authoring.
Firstly, it must be put on record that I have never been engaged by this committee of inquiry on any matter it is investigating. Any findings that it seeks to make in respect of the multi-party coalition government I led would be procedurally irregular in terms of the most basic provisions of our law.
Secondly, I have previously raised concerns about a former City Manager of Johannesburg being involved in authoring such an investigation. This concern arises from an obvious conflict of interest in respect of any wrong doing identified in the City of Johannesburg while Trevor Fowler served as the City Manager. During our tenure in office, the forensic unit investigated over 6000 cases totalling more than R35 billion in transactions, most of which transpiring prior to the 2016 local government elections.
ActionSA will await the report from the Committee of Inquiry with interest. However, like Maile’s interest in the departure of the City Manager, we assert that it is more likely to be driven by political and factional interests rather than a sincere exercise of provincial oversight.