City of Joburg council approves resolutions to fight corruption and resolve infighting
Joburg mayor says he is deeply concerned by the misuse of delegated powers to target specific individuals.
Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda says the city’s focus is now on conducting investigations in a lawful and impartial manner. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
Amid ongoing infighting, with several officials at each other’s throats, the City of Johannesburg has announced that it will be stepping up its efforts in combating corruption, enhancing transparency and resolving internal disputes.
Council resolutions aimed at strengthening the city’s Group Forensic Investigation Services (GFIS) and regularising its operations and investigations were approved during a recent council meeting.
During the meeting held on 21 June, reports were presented, revealing serious irregularities in the conduct of allegations and investigations against senior city officials and councillors by GFIS.
Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda said the misuse of delegated powers by previous administrations to target specific individuals through illegal methods and mandates was deeply concerning.
He said that investigations conducted without adhering to the due and legal process requirements were found to be in violation of the Municipal Systems Act.
The Act mandates that allegations against councillors must be reported to the speaker of council or council itself for investigation approval. Similarly, allegations against the city manager and senior managers require approval from council in accordance with the Disciplinary Regulations for Senior Managers and the MFMA Regulations on Financial Misconduct Procedures and Criminal Proceedings.
“Such investigations, conducted outside the boundaries of the law, are deemed irregular and unlawful, posing legal and financial risks to the city. Maintaining the integrity and lawfulness of investigations is crucial to protect the credibility of outcomes and safeguard the city from potential losses resulting from unlawful actions,” he said.
He said that the city’s focus is now on conducting investigations in a lawful and impartial manner.
“GFIS is recognised as a critical body in the city’s fight against corruption, fraud, and criminality. The decisions made by council aim to ensure that GFIS operates within the confines of the law, effectively detecting, preventing, and exposing fraudulent activities. Politically motivated and rogue investigations will not be tolerated,” the city emphasised.
The council also acknowledged that the unlawful investigations violated the rights of Senior Managers and councillors, leaving the city vulnerable to potential litigation.
In response, council authorised the city manager to report the incurred expenditure from these unlawful investigations as irregular to the municipal public account committee (MPAC) and initiate recovery procedures.
The mayor also confirmed that the city manager was also mandated to handle any litigation arising from these investigations and that council empowered the city manager to appoint a senior counsel in cases of litigation against the city and seek advice on remedial actions to address the damage caused by the abuse of investigative powers and unlawful investigations.