NEWS & ANALYSIS

MKMVA cut-in on Joburg's R1,3bn broadband deal - Herman Mashaba

Mayor says indications are some senior members were involved in tender manipulation around deal

What is the MKMVA’s interest in Motion of No Confidence in CoJ?

25 September 2017

I am concerned by reports that the ANC’s Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), in the City of Johannesburg, has expressed interest in the recently tabled motion of no confidence against the Speaker of Council and myself, so much so that it intends to march to the City on the matter.

Recently, the MKMVA called on its members to “intensify” the “struggle to reclaim power” in the City of Johannesburg in order to support the ANC’s call for a  motion of no confidence.

These intensified efforts will most likely end in a violent protest outside Council on the 27th of September 2017.

This will also hamper the important functions of Council on the day, to the detriment of residents.

The question to be asked is, why the MKMVA has such an interest in the matter?

I can only surmise that the reason behind the interest is to protect the ANC’s patronage networks which previously allowed them to loot state coffers for their benefit.

Indeed, I have been advised that the City will soon receive a full report based on an independent forensic investigation into the previous administration’s decision to purchase a 900  km fibre broadband network at a cost of R1,3 billion.

Preliminary findings of the report indicate that a number of high profile individuals associated with the ANC have been linked to the City’s decision to purchase the fibre network.

Specifically, it would appear that two senior members of the MKMVA held an interest in the companies benefiting from the purchase of the broadband network, benefiting almost R200 million. Why was this permitted?

The preliminary findings also strongly indicates that the same senior members of the MKMVA were, from the outset, deeply involved in manipulating the City ‘s tender process with respect to the deal.

In 2015, the City strangely decided to acquire the fibre network and establish a Municipal Owned Entity (MOE) to run the network despite having no viable business plan nor had requisite capacity to run a broadband operation of this size.

The aim of the Johannesburg Broadband Network Project was to provide access to broadband services which would improve the City’s service delivery, realise ICT cost related savings for the City and grant communities and businesses across Johannesburg with more affordable access to internet.

Despite the astronomical cost, few of these benefits have been realised necessitating a thorough investigation of the decision.

Under the initial agreement, the City would have paid an annual fee for the building and operation of the network. After 15 years we would have taken over ownership of the network. Instead the City decided to purchase the network at a cost of R1,3 billion, without any viable business plans and placing the City’s financial stability at risk.

This begs the question, why did the City decide to proceed with the purchase?

Each cent stolen from the City means that residents have to suffer without services.

As the new administration, we are determined to bring those of have stolen from our residents to book.

Once the full investigation is complete, the City will make its findings available to the City’s residents.

Statement issued by Cllr Herman Mashaba, Executive Mayor, Johannesburg, 25 September 2017