STATEMENT BY DR RABELANI DAGADA, FORMER MMC FOR FINANCE IN THE CITY OF JOBURG
The Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Councillor Herman Mashaba removed me from the Mayoral Committee on Monday, 15 January 2018. Subsequent to that move, Mashaba issued a statement in which he accused me of corruption, nepotism, price fixing and the victimisation of some City officials.
From the onset, it is important to state that in his statement, the Executive Mayor used absolute terms and plurals, for example – individuals, officials and service providers, which he claimed were associated with me. I am in possession of two-draft investigation reports, both of which do not contain findings that declare that I acted favourably towards individuals, officials and service providers closely associated with me, as claimed by Mashaba.
I hereby challenge Councillor Mashaba to publicly name and shame the individuals he says benefited from my alleged corrupt activities. Upfront, I can assure the public that Mayor Mashaba will not take up this challenge because such individuals, officials, and service providers reportedly closely associated with me, as he stated, do not exist. The only person mentioned in a draft forensic investigation report, for which I am in possession is Dr Seth Mukwevho and his company Radongo, which is why Mayor Mashaba’s plural description of “individuals, officials, and service providers” cannot apply. If Councillor Mashaba acted in good faith – why did he find it necessary to exaggerate the facts? Moreover, the forensic investigation neither found nor concluded that I had influenced the appointment of Dr Mukwevho nor his company – Radongo, as the allegation maintains.
Furthermore, due to the seriousness of the untested allegations the Mayor has levelled against me, I had assumed that the matter would be tabled in this year’s first Council sitting on Wednesday, 31 January 2018 and subsequently referred to the Ethics Committee for further investigation. I was disappointed when this did not happen. The Ethics Committee is the appropriate platform to deal with such matters, thus enable me to clear my name. The matter was also not tabled before the Council Meeting on Thursday, 22 February 2018; yet I continue to suffer prejudice.
It is on this premise that I have decided to issue this statement while awaiting an opportunity to have my name cleared through the Courts of Law and the Council’s Ethics Committee. Unfortunately, to quote Mark Twain – “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
Hereunder is my response to each of the allegations:
FORENSIC INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES IN THE APPOINTMENT OF RADONGO (PTY) LTD AND THE SUBSEQUENT APPOINTMENT OF THE SOLE DIRECTOR OF RADONGO, DR MUKWEVHO BY THE CITY OF JOBURG (CoJ) (UPDATED DRAFT REPORT, FRIDAY, 5 JANUARY 2018)
Most of the allegations in this report involve my professional associate, Dr Seth Mukwevho, PhD. I think it is proper to declare my working relationship with Dr Mukwevho as follows:
- We met at Wits University in early 2000, wherein we were both postgraduate students in different schools
- In 2005, we registered the following companies: Aifheli Holdings and Aifheli Energy. These companies never traded and they were in the final deregistration stage when I checked with CIPRO in 2010. By the time I became a PR Councillor in June 2014, I had assumed these companies were fully deregistered.
3. In 2008, the Development Bank of South Africa (through the Wits Business School) appointed us both to “Conduct a Study: Assessment of ICT Infrastructure in the North West, Free State, and Limpopo Provinces”. In 2011, we co-authored and published a book entitled: “Telecommunication Revolution in a Developmental State: South Africa Becomes ICT Phenomenon”.
4. In 2013, we co-authored a conference paper entitled: “Industrial Espionage Threats in Corporate South Africa.”
ALLEGATION 1 – THAT I COULD HAVE INFLUENCED THE APPOINTMENT OF RADONGO CONSULTING:
MAJOR FINDING: There is no evidence that I directly or indirectly influenced the appointment of Radongo Consulting. However, the perception that I may have influenced cannot be “dismissed or disregarded.”
MY COMMENT: In December 2016, Dr Mukwevho informed me that he had seen a City of Joburg advert in a local newspaper and that his consultancy firm would submit a proposal. I felt uncomfortable and discouraged him from doing so to no avail. At the same time, I thought it would be proper for me to respect his constitutional right to earn a living. The Group Chief Financial Officer effected the appointment of Radongo after receiving recommendations from the relevant legislated procurement Committee.
I knew that the forensic investigation would not obtain any verbal nor documentary evidence against me because I did not influence any official in the City to get Dr Mukwevho’s company appointed for the work on which they were paid R193 000. If the final forensic report contains a statement, which claims that the perception that I may have influenced the appointment of Radango cannot be dismissed, I will take the report to the High Court for review, in order to have it set aside. I believe that the investigating company was specifically mandated to base its report on “factual findings with conclusions and recommendations, substantiated by documentary evidence”.
Neither legislation nor the City of Johannesburg’s Supply Chain Policy required me to disclose a potential conflict of interest in relation to the appointment of Radongo as represented by Dr Mukwevho, who was my professional associate. In the article published by The Star Newspaper on Thursday, 19 October 2017 headlined: “Jobs for pals scandal rocks Joburg”, the Group Head for Supply Chain Management, Thembisa Peele is said to have asserted that Dagada was a politician, and should never, in terms of the National Treasury regulations, get involved in any procurement process”. She continued: “Similarly, in this transaction, he would not be required to acknowledge any possible conflict of interest.”
ALLEGATION 2 – THAT THERE WERE SEVERAL ANOMALIES IN THE APPOINTMENT OF WITS UNIVERSITY TO CONDUCT THE INSOURCING FEASIBILITY STUDY:
A major insinuation (not finding) that is being peddled is that I could have influenced officials to appoint Wits University as a front to enable my professional associate who teaches there to do this project. This is despite the fact that the Deputy Vice-Chancellor is the one who signed the contract between the City of Joburg and Wits for Research and Postgraduate Affairs. I vehemently deny this insinuation, as there is no factual finding or verbal and documentary evidence to support it.
MAJOR FINDING: That I was aware that my professional associate at Wits would be part of this project, to the extent that I clandestinely discussed the proposed revised costing using the Wits email domain.
MY COMMENT: I deny that I advised any service provider regarding pricing of any City of Joburg project. Of all the allegations levelled against me, I deem this one to be the most serious and thus I will be approaching the High Court in the next few days to request for a ruling that the manner in which my Wits emails were accessed was unlawful. I must also point out that it is merely an allegation that I am the author of an alleged email and I put it to those accusing me to prove its veracity. It is well known that an email can be tempered with – especially the ones that are unlawfully obtained. I am also of the opinion that by publishing the information obtained from the purported correspondence – my name was defamed because the contents of the email extracted are certainly not the truth and there was no need for publication thereof.
ALLEGATION 3 – THAT I COULD HAVE INFLUENCED THE APPOINTMENT OF MUKWEVHO AS A DIRECTOR: FINANCIAL STRATEGY AND PLANNING:
MAJOR FINDING: That there is no evidence that I directly or indirectly influenced the appointment of Mukwevho to the above-mentioned position. However, the perception that I may have influenced cannot be “dismissed or disregarded”.
MY COMMENT: At some point earlier in 2017, Dr Mukwevho informed me that he saw an advert in the local newspaper for the position of Director: Treasury, Financial Strategy & Planning in the City’s Finance Department, for which I was the political head. Again, I discouraged him from applying to no avail. I knew that if he were appointed, some mud would be thrown at me. The Group Head handled the recruitment process for Treasury and the Group Chief Financial Officer approved the actual appointment.
I knew that the forensic investigation would not obtain any verbal nor documentary evidence against me because I did not influence any official in the City to get Dr Mukwevho appointed in any position at the City. If the final report contains a statement, which says that a perception that I may have influenced the appointment cannot be dismissed, I will take the report to the High Court for review, to have it set aside. The investigating company was specifically mandated to base its report on “factual findings with conclusions, and recommendations, substantiated by documentary evidence”.
ALLEGATION 4 – THAT I COULD HAVE INFLUENCED THE APPOINTMENT OF DR MUKWEVHO AS GROUP HEAD: TREASURY:
MAJOR FINDING: That there is no evidence that I directly or indirectly influenced the appointment of Dr Mukwevho to the position of Group Head: Treasury. However, the perception that I may have influenced cannot be “dismissed or disregarded”.
MY COMMENT: Dr Mukwevho did not tell me about his application for the position of Group Head: Treasury. I was however not surprised by his appointment. Amongst other career achievements, Dr Mukwevho has previously worked in an investment bank and has served some leading companies as a treasury management consultant. He holds a PhD in Investment Finance (Wits), and three relevant Masters’ Degrees.
I knew that the forensic investigation would not obtain any verbal nor documentary evidence against me because I did not influence any official to get Dr Mukwevho appointed in any position at the City. If the final report contains a statement, which says that the perception that I may have influenced the appointment cannot be dismissed, I will take the report to the High Court for review, to have it set aside on the basis that the investigating company was specifically mandated to base its report on “factual findings with conclusions, and recommendations, substantiated by documentary evidence”.
PROGRESS REPORT ON THE INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED ON ALLEGED FRAUD, IRREGULARITIES IN PROCUREMENT PROCESSES AND VICTIMIZATION AT GROUP ICT AND REVENUE SHARED SERVICE CENTRE, ON FRIDAY, 5 JANUARY 2018.
ALLEGATION 1 – That on Monday, 4 December 2017 I put pressure on the Acting Head of Group ICT, Ms Nomusa Maseko to sign a quotation/order for the procurement of services to rollout 200 WI-FI hotspots. Furthermore, the pricing contained in the quotation/order was exorbitant. Ms Maseko wrote an affidavit in this regard.
MAJOR FINDING: There were no findings contained in this draft report and I had not yet made my input. I was only given an opportunity to make inputs on Wednesday, 10 January 2018. I was later informed that a draft report will be finalised by Wednesday, 14 February 2018, but this has not yet been done.
MY COMMENT: This allegation is preposterous – I did not ask Ms Maseko or any official to sign a quotation or an order for procurement of any service. I was advised that the services that were supposed to be procured would have cost over R35-million. Any product or service which cost above R30 000 is supposed to be advertised as a request for a quotation, and any service which cost above R200 000 is supposed to be advertised as a tender (request for proposal). There was no tender advertised for this project. Even if there were a tender, I would not have asked Ms Maseko to sign a letter of appointment or contract because she does not have such authority as per the Council system for delegations.
This is my understanding of how service providers are appointed at the City of Johannesburg:
(i) Once the tender opens – potential service providers submit their bids
(ii) The tender closes – each bid is recorded on a register – this includes their pricing
(iii) The Bid Evaluation Committee interrogates bids, and a preferred service provider is recommended
(iv) The Executive Adjudication Committee considers the report of the Bid Evaluation Committee. The adjudication of bids is held in public and a recommendation is made to the City Manager (accounting officer) to appoint a successful bidder.
It is on this ground that I would not have compelled Ms Maseko to sign any document to award a tender to any service provider. I guess the Executive Mayor was referring to this allegation when he wrote this on his public statement: “An unforgivable element of [Dagada’s] undue influence, according to the investigation, relates to the unfair treatment of officials who were pressured to authorise procurement to the benefit of those closely associated to him”.
The draft investigation report does not reveal the names of the companies that would have benefited had Ms Maseko signed the alleged quotation/order. I am challenging both Councillor Mashaba and Ms Maseko to name and shame the company that was going to benefit. I suppose in this instance, as alluded, I would be corrupt, therefore, it would be equally proper to publicly mention the corruptor. I repeat – Councillor Mashaba (and Ms Maseko) shall not reveal any names because they do not exist.
Ms Maseko will not be able to sustain her claim during cross-examination before a properly constituted Court of Law and/or Council Ethics Committee. She will also harshly learn the consequences of lying under oath (perjury).
The Executive Mayor employed plural descriptions in his public statement. This being the case – Councillor Mashaba should mention the names of other staff members who I pressurised other than Ms Maseko. The Executive Mayor shall not be able to do this because such staff members do not exist. Of course, pressurising one staff member would be a huge offence, but if the Mayor were acting in good faith, he would not have found it necessary to exaggerate.
ALLEGATION 2 – THAT I VICTIMISED MS SIHLE MORE:
Ms More’s substantive position in the City of Johannesburg is that of being a Group Head: Property Branch. On or around June / July 2017 she was given additional responsibilities to serve as an Acting Head for Revenue. On Wednesday, 13 December 2017, Ms More deposed an affidavit claiming that I instructed her to leave the Revenue Unit and move back to the Property Branch.
MY COMMENT: I vehemently deny this allegation. The truth is that Ms More had requested to be moved back to the Property Branch and the then Acting Group Chief Financial Officer, Mr Ishwar Ramdas granted her permission via an email dated Friday, 8 December 2017. In the previously mentioned email, Mr Ramdas wrote: “Good afternoon Sihle. Your request to move back to rates refers. Please note we have agreed that you will move back to Rates on Monday as per your request”.
It is interesting to note that this pure labour matter was reported to General Shadrack Sibiya who heads up the Group Forensic and Investigation Services instead of lodging a grievance with the Group CFO or the City Manager.
The question that some colleagues have been asking me is why both Maseko and More deposed affidavits containing falsehood. I have my own understanding regarding this and I will reveal this in a Court of Law and/or at the Council Ethics Committee.
SUSTAINED WHICH-HUNT AGAINST ME:
Since July 2017, there have been unrelenting efforts by Mayor Mashaba to remove me from the Mayoral Committee. As far as I can remember, my expulsion on Monday, 15 January 2018 was the fifth and only successful attempt to remove me from the Mayoral Committee. After my removal, a special Democratic Alliance (DA) Johannesburg Caucus meeting was convened and the Mayor informed fellow councillors that he had been trying to remove me for the last nine months. Each time the mayor wanted to remove me, various reasons would be advanced, and the DA Federal Executive (FEDEX) was not convinced. During the FedEx meeting which took place on Sunday, 14 January 2018, Councillor Mashaba threatened to resign from the party if the DA leadership did not allow him to expel me (the Mayor himself confirmed this to me).
My removal from the Mayoral Committee had nothing to do with the reasons contained in the public statement that the Mayor issued. In fact, there is a complete disjuncture between the issued statement and the contents of the two draft forensic investigation reports from which he claimed to have based his decision. If the Mayor was acting in good faith, why was his statement fraught with exaggerations and untruths? For example, the mayor wrote that he based his decision to sack me on the forensic report, which was concluded on Friday, 12 January 2018. This is untrue because, on the aforementioned date, my lawyer and I made submissions to the investigators late in the afternoon. On the same date, and late at night – I had to resend my input after the investigators claimed that they did receive the email. Actually, by mid-February 2018, final reports pertaining to the two investigations were not yet issued.
The truth is that Councillor Mashaba is a bully and sacked me because I stood up to him on several occasions. Firstly, I wrote an email questioning the increasing accumulation of political executive powers by the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Mr Michael Beaumont. While his responsibility was to provide administrative support to the Mayor and head-up the Mayor’s private office, Beaumont was taking over some responsibilities of the Leader of Executive Business, and Members of Mayoral Committee (MMCs). In effect, Beaumont had become a de facto Executive Deputy Mayor. My criticism was not taken well by both Councillor Mashaba and Beaumont.
Matters came to a head on Friday, 27 April 2017 when, in the presence of other MMCs and some officials, I reminded both the Mayor and his Chief of Staff that as long as I am MMC for Finance, they should not treat me like a token. We were at a break-away session in Kievits Kroon, north-eastern Pretoria, attending a Strategic Partners Lekgotla with other coalition partners and the Economic Freedom Fighters to discuss the 2017/2018 Budget. The programme and all other arrangements were done without my involvement. My name did not even feature in the programme, notwithstanding the fact that I was the portfolio head of Finance. Henceforward, my relationship with Councillor Mashaba and Beaumont worsened. Thereafter, they would go out of their way to defame, embarrass, and make my presence in the Mayoral Committee unbearable and intolerable.
Since the first attempt to sack me in July 2017, I realised that I had lost my battle with them and since then – the City is literally run by two people, Councillor Mashaba and Beaumont. It was only former City Manager, Trevor Fowler, former MMC – Anthony Still, and I who could say “no” to Mashaba and Beaumont.
Now that the three of us are gone, Mayor Mashaba and Beaumont have usurped the responsibilities of the Mayoral Committee, City Manager (Accounting Officer), Caucus Management, and in some instances the powers of the Council. Some Heads of Departments would by-pass the City Manager, and their political heads (MMCs) and report directly to Beaumont. For the last few months, he is chauffeur-driven by the JMPD; thanks to the minority coalition government. Even the African National Congress that Mayor Mashaba despises does not display such excesses.
When several attempts to remove me became futile, some of the officials who were assisting the Executive Mayor to sack me allegedly embarked on illegal activities. It is my contention that although both Councillor Mashaba and Beaumont harboured immense hatred towards me, they were not aware, not part of, and would not have approved these alleged illegal activities.
The above-mentioned unlawful activities included putting pressure and colluding with some staff members to manufacture allegations against me; putting me under surveillance by monitoring my movements and bugging my phones. During the Mayoral Lekgotla, which took place from Monday, 13 to Wednesday, 15 November 2017, a staff member who worked for the Group Forensic Investigation Services (GFIS) advised me not to sleep in the room allocated to me because bugging devices were installed, and thus I had to sleep at home.
After being removed from the Mayoral Committee, the same GFIS official visited me at my home and advised me to tread carefully because I was still under surveillance. I apparently angered his line manager by threatening to go to the High Court to have the forensic reports reviewed. He further informed me that had I remained in the Mayoral Committee beyond January 2018, I would have been “eliminated”. This is what happens when (allegedly) rogue officials create an illegal intelligence gathering function and irregular slush fund, which is mainly funded by bribes from some of the investigating companies.
There is a perception that forensic investigation contracts are overpriced at the City of Johannesburg. My informer told me that some forensic investigating companies have started complaining that there is a rogue official who demands a lot of money (kickbacks) and one company was instructed to add R3-million on an R2-million investigation. A comparison of forensic investigation expenditure with the City of Tshwane found that, while Tshwane has spent about R12-million in investigations, Johannesburg had overspent by R80-million.
UNTESTED ALLEGATIONS AND PERSISTING PREJUDICE:
In his public statement wherein he announced my expulsion from the Mayoral Committee, the Executive Mayor promised to lodge a complaint against me to the Council and its Ethics Committee. The delay to enable me to convey my side of the story through a properly constituted legal forum has sustained an irreparable prejudice, which I have been suffering since Councillor Mashaba made serious and untested allegations against me.
I have through my lawyers, requested the Speaker of Council, Councillor Vasco da Gama to submit all allegations against me to the Council’s Ethics Committee.
I want to conclude by stating the following:
The unsubstantiated allegations relied upon to remove me were contrived in a well-calculated stratagem to terminate my political role within the City of Johannesburg Mayoral Committee and to abruptly end my political career within the DA
In a desperate move to achieve the above-mentioned stratagem, the bounds of proper, lawful, and ethical conduct were exceeded inter alia the so-called investigations
It is a matter of record that numerous unsuccessful attempts were on several occasions made to remove me as the MMC for Finance in the City of Johannesburg. These attempts failed because there was not an iota of evidence pointing to any wrongdoing on my part. This led to clandestine, crooked methods being employed to manufacture damning evidence against me
The allegations against me were contrived in long harboured attempts by the Executive Mayor to remove me as the MMC for Finance.
Yours in the Service of Humanity
Dr Rabelani Dagada, PhD
Issued by Rabelani Dagada, 27 February 2018