News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
28 Aug 2017
1:07 pm

IFP comes out to defend JRA chairperson

Gosebo Mathope

The Gauteng IFP chairman says the protected disclosure is diverting attention from alleged underspending at the roads agency.

Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba takes a tour of the site where Johannesburg Road Agency, has started the process of implementing interventions combating the challenge of traffic signal downtime at key traffic intersections throughout Joburg. 15 March 2017. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

In the wake of revelations that the suspended company secretary of the Johannesburg Roads Agency, Karen Mills, made a protected disclosure accusing board chairperson Sipho Tshabalala of questionable behaviour, an IFP leader has come out to rubbish the claims.

“Karen is lying. It’s all lies. The conduct of the JRA board chairperson is not in question here. What they are diverting attention from is that the entity [the JRA] is underspending and not fixing potholes and giving money to Sanral.”

IFP Gauteng chairperson and member of provincial legislature (MPL) Bonginkosi Dlamini was reacting to the protected disclosure that the suspended company secretary of the JRA made to the City of Joburg’s Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS) headed by General Shadrack Sibiya.

In constituting his mayoral committee (Mayco) after the DA-led coalition unseated the ANC from power in the City of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba allocated three portfolios in his 10-member local cabinet to the IFP.

The EFF declined to form part of the Mayco and consistently stated it was not in a coalition with the DA.

Former IFP MP Nhlanhla Makhuba heads the transport portfolio in a delicately balanced power sharing agreement. Two members of the Mayco, former Joburg Water Board CEO Anthony Still and former general manager of Johannesburg Tourism Sharon Peetz have already been removed.

Both the GFIS and the office of the executive mayor deferred all queries regarding the protected disclosure to the JRA. Spokesperson Bertha Peters-Scheepers  emphasised that due to the nature of questions containing allegations against the board chairperson, it was the board’s prerogative to comment, and in this case they had declined to do so.

Dlamini, however, shared with The Citizen that as soon as the MMC for transport, Makhuba, received the queries and were shared with him, a “briefing” was received by himself from the JRA board chairperson and board members.

READ MORE: JRA whistle-blower paints damning picture of agency’s chairman

“That is a big lie [the protected disclosure]. There was a quarterly report by the executives of the JRA and there was massive underspending of millions of rands by the company. This is because they don’t have the required capacity.

“They cited the issue and the board suggested that the new [project management] unit be established. We want the projects initiated at township levels, introduced by [former] Mayor [Amos] Masondo, reintroduced,” Dlamini said.

He dismissed allegations contained in the disclosure by Mills, saying “Karen is speculating about the chairman’s role; the CFO was also frustrated and he wanted to this new unit to be established.”

Dlamini also divulged that the board had decided to “complete the issue of Karen’s [suspension and disciplinary action]” before addressing the allegations. A source close to the issue last week informed The Citizen that an advert for a vacant company secretary had been approved and will be appearing in the media soon.

Dlamini told The Citizen there was no orchestrated campaign by the board chairperson to purge executives at the entity to weaken internal controls so tenders could continue to be issued irregularly.

“My information is that the MD and the head of infrastructure development resigned because they were not happy with the PMU.”

“The coalition in the city has heard there is a lot of money at the JRA that was sent back to Sanral. The money was meant for potholes, which is unacceptable. There are currently 48 contracts issued but contractors are not on site.

“We will not tolerate corruption. But you cannot say that the board chairperson cannot request an office and a PA. Ben Ngubane had an office and PA at the SABC and Eskom. Popo Molefe had an office and PA at Prasa. This is normal practice,” Dlamini said.


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