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By Itumeleng Mafisa

Digital Journalist

City of Joburg appoints expert to probe spy claims, but ex-speaker says there’s no need for new investigation

Colleen Makhubele has accused the city wasting money with yet another investigation.

The City of Johannesburg has announced yet another investigation into alleged spy claims made by members of Al-Jama-ah and other parties aligned to the government of local unity (GLU).

On Sunday, Joburg council speaker Margret Arnolds announced a new investigation led by legal expert Pule Seleka.

The esteemed advocate will investigate claims that the metropolitan municipality’s Group Forensic Investigations Services (GFIS) was used by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to spy on members of the opposition.

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Seleka was part of the Zondo Commission that was established to look into allegations of state capture in 2018.

The claims of spy equipment in the City of Johannesburg have been thrown around for months leading former Joburg speaker, Colleen Makhubele to initiate an investigation that was led by Advocate Sesi Baloyi.

“This is a committee that council has established that will investigate allegations of rogue and clandestine illegal activities by GFIS which were previously reported to council,” Arnolds told reporters.

What happened to old spy report?

Questioned about the previous investigation Arnolds said she had not received a report from Makhubele, who left council last year after she was fired by her former party, the Congress of the People (Cope).

The former speaker initially told The Citizen that there was a report from the previous investigation that was handed over to officials. She later said the report was “actually” incomplete.

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She accused Arnolds of wasting ratepayers’ money through employing another committee to investigate the allegations of spying.

“This shows that she lacks capacity and that she is irresponsible she can always call me and I will tell her where that report is,” Makhubele told The Citizen.

Makhubele added she had appointed a competed senior counsel to lead the investigation and that there was no need for another investigation into the same matter.

DA denies spy allegations

Meanwhile, DA Johannesburg caucus leader Belinda Kayser Echeozonjoku also questioned the initiation of a new investigation.

“There had been someone probing these claims and there were costs to the city that work no has informed the public about the cost or the progress of that report. This information should be available to the public,” she said.

Kayser-Echeozonjoku denied allegations that the DA was involved in spy activities in the city.

“There is a letter from State Security to Dr [Mpho] Phalatse that clarifies that they have inspected the equipment and that equipment is not spy equipment,” Kayser-Echeozonjoku said.

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