Tainted officials get new jobs

Implicated: Joe Mojapelo allegedly irregularly hired a marketing a communications firm when he worked on the Ekurhuleni 2010 World Cup project

Implicated: Joe Mojapelo allegedly irregularly hired a marketing a communications firm when he worked on the Ekurhuleni 2010 World Cup project

Two officials at the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality, who have recently been reappointed into senior positions, have been implicated in a long-awaited Special Investigative Unit (SIU) report into allegations of corruption in the lead-up to the World Cup.

In 2010 former president Jacob Zuma directed the SIU to investigate allegations of tender corruption, conflicts of interest and employment of relatives by officials in the metro. The report was delivered to Zuma in 2016.

But, says the metro’s spokesperson, Themba Gadebe, Ekurhuleni only received the report this September, after the two had been reappointed.

The SIU investigation found that more than a dozen officials had been implicated in an array of criminal offences.

Some of the officials are already before the courts on criminal charges and the Asset Forfeiture Unit has seized the assets of others who benefited unduly.

The report states that Joe Mojapelo, the general manager for Ekurhuleni’s 2010 World Cup special project, was involved in the unjustifiable appointment of TS Records to handle Ekurhuleni’s marketing and communication strategy.

The now defunct company belonged to Sbusiso Leope and Thembinkosi Nciza.

“Councillor Izak Berg received an anonymous letter alleging that TS Records was paid R4-million within a period of two months during March and April 2009. It was further alleged that the 2010 office utilised … policy to deviate from normal procurement processes in appointing TS Records without justiciable grounds for deviation,” reads the report.

Mojapelo resigned from the metro when the investigation began in 2010.

Last year, the Mail & Guardian reported that audit firm Indyebo Consulting had made damning findings against Mojapelo for his role of awarding the contract to TS Records.
These findings were given to the metro two weeks before he resigned. In June, Mojapelo was re-employed as the metro’s chief operations officer.

READ MORE: World Cup probe dogs Mojapelo

Faith Mabindisa, who was also implicated in the report, was appointed the head of the department of the waste and environmental services from August this year.

When the metro was asked how the two were reappointed when serious allegations were yet to be resolved, Gadebe said the 2010 investigation was into projects and not individuals.

Mabindisa, who also left when the investigation started, was found by the SIU to have approved payment into the bank account of a waste company that did not do work for the metro. The company was involved in “cover quoting” — the manipulation of the three-quote procurement system by submitting quotations by several companies owned by the same people. In essence, this is fraud.

She moved to the Tshwane municipality where she left while undergoing a disciplinary process for allegations of misconduct. Spokesperson for the municipality, Selby Bokaba, said the city had no record of a SIU report on allegations of wrong doing against Mabindisa prior to recruiting her. “However, the City of Tshwane investigated allegations of misconduct against Mabindisa,” he said.

Meanwhile Gabede said the report’s recommendations, to institute disciplinary charges against the pair and report implicated companies to the treasury to be placed on a database of restricted suppliers, could only be implemented once
the report was placed before the council, which was expected to happen at this month’s meeting.

Two months ago, the director general of the presidency, Cassius Lubisi, wrote to the metro to request an update on what steps had been taken in implementing the report’s recommendations, adding: “Should the municipality not have acted upon the SIU’s recommendations, the president would appreciate it if you could furnish him with written reasons for such inaction.”

It is unclear why the presidency sent the letter when the report had yet to be given to the municipality. Questions to the presidency had not been answered by the time of publication.

Athandiwe Saba

Athandiwe Saba

Athandiwe Saba is a multi award-winning journalist who is passionate about data, human interest issues, governance and everything that isn’t on social media. She is an author, an avid reader and trying to find the answer to the perfect balance between investigative journalism, online audiences and the decline in newspaper sales. It’s a rough world and a rewarding profession. Read more from Athandiwe Saba

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