Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has fired his MMC of finance, Rabelani Dagada. He will also pursue criminal charges against Dagada.
In a statement on Monday morning, Mashaba said he has taken the decision in consultation with the Democratic Alliance’s federal executive.
Dagada, who had responsibility for fixing the city’s crippled billing system, among other things, has, however, hit back at his removal, arguing in a series of tweets that he has done nothing wrong.
In his statement, Mashaba said he initiated a forensic investigation through an external company, which was concluded on Friday.
“The forensic investigation has found that Dagada breached the city’s code of conduct by not declaring his interests and, subsequently, conflicts of interest with individuals closely associated with him,” the mayor said.
“Further to this, the forensic investigation has found Dagada to have been involved in price fixing with a service provider to the city, and in the process acted against his sworn duty to our residents.”
Mashaba said the investigation showed that Dagada “acted in a manner which has sought, either directly or indirectly, to benefit service providers and officials closely associated with him”.
“In this process, a series of events have transpired that, in my view, could not have taken place coincidentally to the exclusive benefit of these associates.”
Dagada was a contender for the DA’s mayoral candidate for Johannesburg in the 2016 municipal elections, but lost to Mashaba.
In the statement, the mayor said an “unforgivable element of the undue influence, according to the investigation, relates to the unfair treatment of officials who were pressured to authorise procurement deals to the benefit of those closely associated (with him)”.
“While the disciplinary charges are under way, I will be laying a complaint with the ethics committee of the council and criminal charges against Dagada,” Mashaba said.
In October 2017, The Star reported that allegations had surfaced that Dagada was “enriching” a friend by facilitating access to lucrative tenders. Seth Mukwevho, the finance department’s group head of treasury, “irregularly” received a two-month contract of over R190 000, allegedly due to his long-standing relationship with Dagada, the newspaper said, citing sources in the department.
But in a series of tweets on Monday, Dagada hit back over his removal. “I vehemently deny allegations contained (in) the statement released by (the) Jo’burg mayor this morning,” he said.
“I have (been) subjected to (an) unrelenting witch-hunt to remove me from the mayoral committee and to kill my political career,” he continued.
“It is not true that I put some officials under pressure to give tenders to my associates. What are those tenders for? They don’t exist.”
He said the courts will clear his name.
In a podcast interview with TechCentral in July 2017 (link below), Dagada vowed to fix Johannesburg’s notoriously problematic billing system by March 2018.
In the podcast, Dagada — who is well known in ICT circles — spoke about the city’s plans to build Wi-Fi and digital camera infrastructure and to use the Internet of things to make the city function more effectively.
Mashaba named development planning MMC Funzela Ngobeni as new finance MMC with immediate effect. — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media