Cape Town releases report into spy claims

Statement by Helen Zille on inquiry by Adv. Jordaan into Chabaan investigation

Today we release the findings of an independent investigation carried out into several allegations regarding the City of Cape Town's procurement of George Fivaz & Associates to probe Councillor Badih Chaaban.

The findings are contained in a report by Advocate Josie Jordaan of the Cape Bar, which was handed to me today.

I have studied this report, and in addition to making its contents available to the public via the media, I will also provide a copy to the Erasmus Commission of Enquiry launched by the Provincial Government, and to all parties in the City Council.

I will now briefly summarise the findings of the report on each of the matters investigated.

In response to Question 1: "Was the institution of an investigation into alleged breaches of the Councillors' Code of Conduct warranted?" Advocate Jordaan finds that it "was indeed warranted" (page 19).

He points out that "if a Speaker, on reasonable suspicion, is of the opinion that a provision of the Code of Conduct has been breached, he has no discretion in the matter. The above stated provision is peremptory and he must authorise an investigation and comply with the rest of the provisions of Section 13 of the Code" (page 11) and that "that Speaker also had to determine the nature and extent of the investigation". (page 19)

He also states that "it is quite clear in my opinion that there was more than just a reasonable suspicion that Councillor Chaaban's conduct amounted to breaches of the provisions of the Code of Conduct" (page 18).

In response to Question 2: "Was the use of the services of an external service provider in that investigation warranted?" Advocate Jordaan concludes that the City was in fact "forced to outsource the investigation as the Forensic and Investigative Audit section, which falls under [City Manager's] authority, does not have the necessary delegated power to conduct investigations in respect of Councillors. It can only do so in respect of City employees and other persons listed in the Council's System of Delegations" (page 20).

On Question 3: ‘Was the Councils procurement policy correctly applied in the procurement of these services?" Advocate Jordaan finds that the "process followed was proper and in accordance with the relevant provisions" (page 76).

He notes that while there are dates on invoices handed to the City by George Fivaz & Associates that predated the date of their appointment of 11 June 2007, the City manager had taken appropriate steps to find out what had happened and whether any money needed to be repaid to the City (page 64). He also notes that the total sum involved is R3 500-00 (page 63). The City Manager has subsequently found that there was no overpayment.

On Question 4: "Did the City pay for any services that it should not have paid for? If any such finding is made, identify the reason for this?" Advocate Jordaan states: "Save as set out above and to the extent that the City Manager may ultimately find that there was some overpayment, I have not found any factual basis to conclude that the City paid for any services that it should not have paid for" (page 86).

In relation to allegations that the City paid for DA work done by George Fivaz & Associates prior to their appointment by the City, Advocate Jordaan states that he has "not found any evidence indicating that the City made any payments to GE&A for services rendered to the DA" (page 89). He also adds that "the City probably did receive some benefit from the initial investigation by George Fivaz & Associates, as it covered aspects that would have had to be addressed in any event and some of which did feature in the Speaker's investigation" (page 89).

In response to Question 5: "Was the Mayor of the City in any way involved in the institution of the procured investigation or the payment subsequently made to the service provider?' Advocate Jordaan finds that "from the facts that came to light during my investigation there is no indication that the Mayor was in any way involved in: (a) the institution of the investigation; or (b) the payment subsequently made to the service provider" (page 90).

Advocate Jordaan deals with Questions 6 and 7 together, namely: "Were councillors of parties that are in partnership with the DA in the City of Cape Town subiected to surveillance, and if so, whether such surveillance was lawful and with the consent of effected councillors?" and "If surveillance of councillors of parties that are in partnership with the DA was carried out, for what period did this occur, and by whose authority was it initiated?".

His report states that he has "found no facts indicating that councillors of parties that are in partnership with the DA in the City of Cape Town were subjected to surveillance on the instructions of the Speaker or any other official of the City or for that matter on the instructions of any other person" (page 91).

He also states that he was able to find no facts to indicate that the methods used by George Fivaz & Associates were not legally compliant. However, he states that he was not given access to any documents or information held by the SAPS (page 92), and also notes Cllr Chaaban's statement that he is "holding back information for the Erasmus Commission" (page 94).

This sums up the key findings of the report by Advocate Jordaan.

This independent investigation clearly confirms what we have believed all along - that the allegations around the investigation into Cllr Chaaban have been nothing more than a smear campaign, and that the appointment of the Erasmus Commission is a gross abuse of taxpayers' money by the ANC controlled Province.

Further support for this view lies in the fact that the SAPS have made no arrests of any City official or office bearer.

Even if the SAPS find illegal actions were taken by employees of GF&A, Advocate Jordaan's report confirms that no instructions were given by any City office bearer for them to conduct illegal activities. If any employee of George Fivaz & Associates did break the law, the City therefore cannot be held responsible.

Statement issued by Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town, on the Findings of Independent Investigation into Spy Allegations, January 30 2008