Maile launches probe into Mashaba’s ‘stolen’ Alex renewal project files claim

An investigation has been initiated to “ascertain the authenticity of the claims” that a Gauteng provincial government member unlawfully accessed files on the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP) which were stored in a City of Johannesburg office.

This is according to a statement released on Thursday by Gauteng MEC for human settlement, urban planning and cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Lebogang Maile.

“The law enforcement agencies, especially the police, will have to be brought on board regarding this matter. Anyone found to have acted inappropriately, should face the full might of the law,” Maile said.

The allegations of unlawful access were made by Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, in a statement released on Wednesday. In it he says he has “learnt with disbelief” that a department of human settlements official accessed offices containing files pertaining to the renewal project.

The renewal project recently came under the spotlight following #TotalShutdown protests which erupted in Alexandra township in April. The renewal project was launched by the government in 2001, with the aim of changing infrastructure, the economy and the social environment of the township.

A number of organisations from local, provincial and national government were involved as well as the private sector, non-governmental organisations and community-based groups.

But, according to residents, the money from the project cannot be accounted for because nothing has been done to develop the century-old township.

The ARP is now the subject of an inquiry into the socio-economic conditions in Alexandra . It was established by the South African Human Rights Commission and the office of the public protector.

In addition to Premier David Makhura, the City of Johannesburg has also initiated an investigation into the project and how the allocated budget was spent.

In his statement, Mashaba said that the city’s group forensics unit “established that a file of documentation, pertaining to the ARP, is missing from the locked offices in which the files were being safely stored.”

He further proceeded to detail that the forensics unit has a recorded interview with the said government official where he admits that he “procured” a key to the offices and gained access to the offices. According to Mashaba, the city had not granted the official permission to do so.

“It is worth noting that this official was formerly employed by the City of Johannesburg within the ARP project. It is outrageous that such an act could have taken place… at a time when the City has launched a full-scale forensic investigation into the ARP, for which we can confirm evidence is now missing, this must be viewed in the most cynical light,” Mashaba said.

Maile concluded his statement by expressing “deep worry” that the ARP “is being politicised, whilst our communities expect services and improvements in their livelihoods.”

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


South Africa has been junked

Treasury says the credit ratings downgrade “could not have come at a worse time”, as country enters a 21-day Covid-19 lockdown with little money saved up

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories