DURBAN - FORMER mayor of Johannesburg and leader of newly formed political party ActionSA, Herman Mashaba, said on Sunday that he wants the court to review and dismiss the findings made against him by South African Public Protector (PPSA) Busisiwe Mkhwebane last year.
Mashaba said in an affidavit to the court that Mkhwebane materially misdirected herself in addressing the merits of the “scurrilous complaint”. He said the findings made against him in the PP’s 2020 report were harmful to his personal and professional reputation and also “weaken the stature and competence expected of the office of the Public Protector”.
He said because these factors, having the findings against him reviewed are a matter of public interest, and that the findings against him have been addressed on more than one occasion with the PPSA.
He said evidence refuting the claims against him were sent to the PPSA, “yet she patently failed to apply her mind to the evidence provided to her”.
“The report by Mkhwebane exhibits, either an unfortunate inability to meaningfully analyse extensive submissions made to her prior to the finalisation of her report regarding baseless claims against my person, or a delinquent ignorance of the application of the law. Indeed, the report itself contains contradictory statements, which makes it difficult to follow the Public Protector’s reasoning for the findings against me,” Mashaba said in a statement.
The former Joburg mayor said his affidavit addressed two findings against him, namely: that he unlawfully and irregularly entered the procurement space and solicited free services for the city and that this amounted to a conflict of interest; and that he interfered or influenced the funding allocation for a youth drug rehabilitation and support programme to fund a non-governmental organisation (“NGO”) called the Field Band Foundation.
The allegations against Mashaba became public knowledge last December when PP Mkhwebane released 14 investigation reports for the 2020/2021 financial year.
The investigation into Mashaba began after more than two complaints were sent to the office of the PPSA over alleged irregular appointment of staff, financial mismanagement, irregular increases and conflict of interest.
“The city improperly or irregularly appointed Mr Mtileni ... Mr Tembe ... The city improperly or irregularly appointed, without following due process, KMPG to conduct investigations in various departments, as for clearly different assignments which would require different expertise, without advertising the tender as required by the Municipal Finance Management Act and supply chain management regulations.
“The former executive mayor, Mr Mashaba, unlawfully and irregularly entered the procurement space and solicited free services from Lephatse Financial Services,” the PPSA said in her report.
Mkhwebane’s report also found that Mashaba interfered or influenced the city's allocation of funding to youth drug rehabilitation to fund an NGO called the Field Band Foundation (FBF).
But Mashaba maintained that he relieved himself of the position of director of FBF after he was appointed as Mayor and that neither he, nor his family, benefitted from the free advice provided to the city.
He said he looked forward to resolving the matter in court.
“To this day, no evidence has been provided to show that the advisor in question, me, or any of my family interests have benefited from the free advice provided to the City. It is worth noting that a number of municipalities and the National Department of Arts and Culture have also worked with and supported the FBF.
“My family has donated historically to this organisation, continuing to do so today, and I have chaired the NGO for many years. However, prior to joining the City, I had already resigned my directorship in the organisation.
“I do not seek to hide my involvement in the numerous worthy causes my family has been involved in supporting over the years. However, there is no evidence to support the assertion that whilst as Mayor, I ever conflated the two. Again, the Public Protector fails to establish any wrongdoing in this matter, which makes her findings all the more bizarre,” Mashaba said.