The ANC is being pushed to account for hundreds of millions of rand spent by the City of Joburg on personal protective equipment (PPE), and the opposition want an audited report on how the money was used.
The Joburg city council yesterday postponed, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) giving mayor Geoff Makhubo and his committee member for health one last chance to prepare and table the long-overdue report. More than R600 million is believed to have been spent, but there has been little on the ground to justify the expenditure.
The DA and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had staged a walkout at the previous council meeting. They rejected an incomplete report submitted to the council. Yesterday, the EFF stressed it wouldn’t continue to participate in future proceedings until the report was tabled.
DA city caucus leader Leah Knott described the last report tabled as “nothing more than a half-baked, whitewashed statement” in an attempt to cover up their corruption. Knott said the DA had demanded a comprehensive report be tabled within seven days, a move supported by other parties.
Freedom Front Plus said it would wait until the audited report was served to all councillors. Council speaker Nonceba Molwele undertook to arrange an extraordinary meeting to table and discuss the report. Councillor Nico de Jager said the DA wanted an internal audit report. He appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate possible corruption around PPE in the City of Joburg.
“There are shenanigans happening here,” he said.
Knott said this was despite a council resolution requiring detailed weekly reports, a Promotion of Access to Information Act application, direct questions to the mayor in council and requests from all oversight committees.
The DA said information requested included how much was spent on sanitisation of city buildings and whether informal traders and small, medium and micro enterprises were assisted. They demanded a report on why city officials were not issued with masks in time due to contract irregularities, Wembley Stadium tent village was supposed to provide shelter for 1,200 people but had only 54 and its cost remained unknown, despite the contract being flagged as irregular.
“While the city is cracking down on its residents and businesses, despite statements to the contrary, provincial and national departments owe it close to R1 billion for services, with over R500 million of this past the 90-day mark,” Knott said.