Makhubo’s Attempts to Distract Will Not Work

A statement released in 2017, detailing the cancellation of the original ‘Fire Raiders’ tender.

ActionSA notes a statement issued by Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo which blatantly attempts to mischaracterise the events leading to the Johannesburg High Court finding a tender for fire engines as illegal and unconstitutional.

While Makhubo would like to make this about corruption, to distract Johannesburg residents from the fact that the Mayor should be serving a 15-year jail sentence for corruption, the facts do not support this claim.

When the multi-party government under my leadership entered the City of Johannesburg, we inherited a disaster of a contract for R161 million known as ‘Fire Raiders’, entered into in 2015. The company awarded the contract could not deliver on the contract, immediately went into business rescue and was found to have issued a fraudulent performance guarantee.

It is worth noting that an investigation revealed that the minutes of the City’s Bid Evaluation Committee were forged. The Executive Director of Public Safety was fired by Council but is now back in the employ of the City according to our information. This serves to demonstrate how sincere Geoff Makhubo’s outrage really is on this matter.

We faced a serious situation of insufficient fire engines in working condition to keep the residents of Johannesburg safe. The City Manager initiated an emergency tender process, in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act which exists for precisely this reason – when following the normal time-consuming process could result in loss of life and property.

It is clear from the court judgment that the process followed by the administration of the City was procedurally incorrect and needs to be investigated. Unlike Geoff Makhubo, as demonstrated by the Zondo Commission, I never interfered with tender processes because of the legal prohibition from doing so.

What this story is really about is that our multi-party government was trying to solve a life-threatening problem caused by past ANC mismanagement and wrongdoing. It is clear from the court judgement that the process was not followed correctly. I encourage Makhubo, as I did then, to take the necessary consequence management against officials responsible for not following the required process.

Geoff Makhubo’s mayoralty has been nothing short of a train wreck. His attempt to mischaracterise the court judgement is transparent.

To be fair to Makhubo when all of this began, he was distracted, too busy profiting from his relationship with state capture-linked Regiments Capital, a company managing the City’s funds, while serving as the MMC of Finance responsible for overseeing the same contract.

During my time as Mayor of Johannesburg I never ducked accountability. Every allegation was investigated, and action was taken without fear or favour, including against my own MMCs when they fell short of the required standard.

If Makhubo would like to live up to this standard, he should march himself into a police station, confess to his crimes and swop his mayoral chains for handcuffs.