Probe uncovers ‘issues of serious concern’ at Jo’burg roads agency
Jo’burg mayor Herman Mashaba vows to punish JRA employees found guilty of mismanagement and corruption
Issues of serious concern have been uncovered in the investigation into allegations of mismanagement and corruption at the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), says Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba.
The investigation, by an independent forensic company, has not yet been completed.
The JRA is crucial in delivering Mashaba’s election promises to residents, but the mayor was accused of turning a blind eye to the problems at the entity when they first surfaced.
In 2017 senior executives Sean Phillips and Mpho Kau resigned as MD and head of infrastructure development respectively. Former company secretary Karen Mills was suspended after making a protected disclosure to the council’s investigative unit.
Phillips alleged JRA board chairman Sipho Tshabalala had "bluntly" asked him not to award any tenders without his involvement. Phillips claimed that after he informed Tshabalala that this would be illegal, the chairman had asked to be "informally" involved.
An investigation by amaBhungane in April brought to light the termination of a contract for the rehabilitation of the M1 highway following pressure from Phillips and Kau — Khato Civils took over the contract from White Hazy without it going out to tender. It was alleged that upfront payments were made to Khato Civils.
"One thing for sure is that there are issues of concern, of serious concern. People are not going to get away with it," Mashaba said.
He said that he could not "really" share any of the information he had received, as the investigation had not yet been completed. "I can only share it once they are satisfied that they can stand in a court of law to defend themselves in terms of what they have uncovered," Mashaba said.
The investigation had started with a probe into alleged prepayments to Khato Civils, and the contract for the double-decker highway given to White Hazy, the mayor said.
Mashaba had initially said he hoped the probe would be completed by the end of May. But he said the investigators were struggling to get people to co-operate with them and had to apply to the courts to force people to provide information.
Mashaba said he ran the governance of Johannesburg "without fear or favour" and had never "hesitated to act" after he was given evidence that could be tested in court.