City of Johannesburg fires senior official for awarding tenders to own company

The City of Johannesburg has fired a senior official for allegedly awarding tenders to their own private company, the municipality said on Friday.

“The official engaged in private business without prior consent from the City, breached our code of ethics, influenced procurement decisions for their own benefit and acted against the interests of the City,” said Andrew Stewart, strategic adviser in the office of mayoral committee member Leah Knott.

“The official was investigated internally after the individual had a personality clash with the previous executive director under the previous administration, who resigned. They had countered claims against one another and we looked at these accusations and found that there was a lot of truth to these claims,” Stewart said.

The official, who was not named, was responsible for the city’s trade and investment projects.

“It was decided to not mention the name until all legal avenues have been exhausted,” Stewart said.

In an effort to root out corruption, some of the measures that Mayor Herman Mashaba’s administration have implemented include an open tender process and establishing a forensic department.

“We now have an open tender process, where even journalists are welcome to come and see how the process works and how the tenders are assessed. It is open to the public. We have also established a forensics department, where we look at all kinds of issues, not just internally but within the public domain as well,” Stewart said.

According to Stewart, over the past few years corruption has cost the City of Johannesburg around R8 billion.

“People are now more apprehensive to engage in dodgy dealings,” said Stewart, due to the municipality following up on all tip-offs it receives.

He said that they were waiting on legal counsel to advise if the individual should be prosecuted but said that the disciplinary hearing recommended that the official’s contract be terminated.

“The individual was found guilty and then lost their appeal. However, he could approach the labour council as a final resort,” Stewart said.

In August last year, the Hawks arrested eight city officials for alleged rebate fraud amounting to about R2.4 million.

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