Is SAMWU for or against corruption?
13 January 2017
I note with deep concern the embarrassing and contradictory press conference held by SAMWU (South African Municipal Workers Union) today to “dispel the lies which have been peddled by the City of Johannesburg” following the arrest and imminent arrest of corrupt licensing centre officials in Johannesburg.
This begs the question – is SAMWU for or against corruption? Is SAMWU going to work with the City in our efforts of rooting out corruption or are they fighting to keep corrupt officials in their seats?
The City has, through a forensic investigation, identified a total of 106 allegedly corrupt licensing centre officials of which eight suspects have already appeared in court. The case was remanded to 14 February at the Specialised Commercial Crime Court and bail have been set at R5000 each.
The arrests are based on concrete evidence gathered by the City’s Anti-Corruption Unit which indicate that between January 2008 and February 2016, 972 alleged fraudulent transactions at a total value of R14,717,444.00 were identified within the City of Johannesburg.
Syndicates colluded with certain licensing officials to perform illegal transactions on the licensing computer system.
SAMWU would do well to understand that internal disciplinary processes and criminal cases are two completely separate matters and while the HAWKS believed that the case is strong enough to arrest the allegedly corrupt officials, we will also urgently pursue the suspension of all implicated employees. We have not disclosed any names of implicated employees to protect their rights.
The previous administration turned a blind eye to these corrupt practices and neglected to act in the best interest of the people of this City by properly investigating cases and implementing their findings and recommendations. Since coming into office I have been inundated with investigations which were concluded and yet no action was taken by the previous administration. The previous administration chose to rather keep these reports under lock and key.
While it is true that many investigations did commence before we took office, there can be no doubt that that we are taking action that the previous administration wouldn’t, couldn’t and didn’t.
SAMWU is demanding that this secrecy approach is maintained, but the people of our City voted for change. I will never keep such cases from the residents of Joburg and they have every right to know when forensic investigations reveal that the people’s money has been stolen.
It is alarming that SAMWU, who stated in their press-briefing today that “we need to place it on record that SAMWU has always condemned corruption in all its manifestations in the strongest possible terms and that view will never change”, are speaking out against the City for rooting out corruption.
They go further to state that they “fully support the anti-corruption efforts employed and we urge the mayor to root out and reverse irregular appointments made by the corrupt leadership of the JMPD and Public Safety as part of a broader strategy to clean up both JMPD and LIPCO.”
If SAMWU is against corruption in all its manifestations, then why would they call a press conference to attempt to discredit the City’s efforts to deal with corruption?
Furthermore, if SAMWU is serious about the fight against corruption in this City, they would back the new administration – who for the first time in this City’s history has implemented a zero-tolerance approach to corruption. We are not paying lip-service to this idea but rather we are fully emerged in the process of rooting out corruption in the City of Johannesburg.
I would also like to state that we would welcome a meeting with SAMWU to discuss the allegations of irregular appointments under the previous administration. It is however disingenuous to talk about these appointments after having campaigned for the previous administration.
There are many hardworking, honest civil servants in the City of Johannesburg. In fact, in so many cases, these hard working and honest officials are coming forward with this information.
I encourage these officials to join me in the fight against corruption and ask them to step forward so we may root out this practice together.
I also implore SAMWU to rethink their strategy and work with the City to root out corruption and serve the resident of Johannesburg who have voted for change. The doors of the new administration remain open to them should they wish to partner with us to put action to their commitment to combat corruption.
Cllr Herman Mashaba
City of Johannesburg
For further information, please contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Executive Mayor
City of Johannesburg
Tel: 011 407 7375
Cellular: 082 920 9708