City of Joburg awaiting report on whether Kenny Kunene’s raids were unlawful
The Transport MMC has highlighted that other buildings in Johannesburg have been declared unsafe by health officials.
Johannesburg Transport MMC Kenny Kunene at an abandoned building at Windsor East in Randburg on 15 May 2023. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
The City of Johannesburg is awaiting a report to determine whether Transport MMC Kenny Kunene conducted raids and searches of buildings in the metro unlawfully.
Last month, Kunene was appointed acting mayor for two days while Kabelo Gwamanda was away, with the deputy president of the Patriotic Alliance (PA) spending his short tenure focusing on hijacked buildings in the city.
The Transport MMC visited hijacked buildings in Hillbrow and Berea in Johannesburg CBD.
He also demolished a building in Windsor East in Randburg.
According to the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri), the building was demolished without any court order, accusing Kunene of violating residents’ rights.
Habouring criminals, drug dealers
Addressing the media ahead of the State of the City Address (SOCA), City of Joburg Speaker Colleen Makhubele confirmed that the metro would get a report on Kunene’s raids.
However, Makhubele also backed the operations, saying action was needed as some of the buildings have become crime hotspots.
“I think the reality is that we need strong, firm decisions around how we deal with inner city, illegal immigrants, illegal occupants and hijacking of buildings that are habouring criminals and drug dealers.
“If we are going to be nursing and dilly-dangling around the issue, we are going to leave it for our next generation… they will be here talking about the [same thing].
“At some point there has to be decisive action [on whether] are we going to take this building over or are we going to demolish and rebuild it to make it a livable space or are we going to entertain all sorts of noise around the city because we don’t know the different agendas at play,” the Speaker said on Monday.
“So those are things that the executive mayor and his team will pronounce on, but as the legislature we are waiting for a full report that will tell us whether there was any wrongdoing and that’s when we can step in on what actions would need to be taken if any.
“At this stage we support the efforts to ensure that our inner city can become an economic hub as well and not a hub for criminals.”
Kunene previously highlighted that other buildings in Johannesburg CBD have been declared unsafe by health officials.
Meanwhile, Makhubele also lauded Gwamanda following his first month in office, saying he was a “very capable individual” who has shown “tremendous leadership”.
“The GLU [Government of Local Unity] has placed enormous weight on his shoulders and I think it should be appreciated in the short period of time that he has been an executive mayor.
“Getting into grip with the issues of the city, understanding the various departments, pulling together the teams etc. We have been very impressed at the pace he has managed to bring himself to speed,” she said.
It was recently reported that Gwamanda and his mayoral committee have missed at least 17 meetings to discuss public outreach programmes in the past few weeks.
But Chief Whip Sithembiso Zungu indicated the Joburg officials have since apologised for their non-attendance.
Zungu also pointed out that Gwamanda has been sick “for some time”.
“The mayor wasn’t well for quite some time. I think he came at a time where he was not well and could not fully attend these meetings. I think he understands the importance of these meetings. They’ve shown remorse and apologised to the speaker to say that it should have never have happened again that we miss such meetings,” he said.
Gwamanda’s qualifications were brought into the spotlight last month following a Carte Blanche episode, which placed the vetting process used by his party Al Jama-ah to elevate him as a candidate for the position under scrutiny.
The mayor has also been accused of allegedly running a funeral insurance scam through his investment company, iThemba Lama Afrika.