Peter Bruce begrudgingly ‘apologises’ – Herman Mashaba

Joburg Mayor says it is apparent that columnist has back tracked over his original remarks

Peter Bruce begrudgingly ‘apologises’ for his unsubstantiated slander

2 June 2019

I have noted the disgruntled ‘apology’ issued by Peter Bruce in his editorial piece in last weeks Sunday Times.

On Sunday 19 May 2019, Peter Bruce wrote an opinion piece in which he stated “He [Mashaba] has allowed the EFF to influence contracts and appointments…”

While I hold a deep respect for members of the media and the role they play in our democracy, I took exception to this comment.

South Africa desperately needs political leaders of integrity that can be trusted. To state that I would allow the EFF to influence contracts flies in the face of my commitment to serve the residents of Johannesburg and erodes their trust in me as their Mayor. It also flies in the face of this multi-party government’s zero tolerance approach to corruption and undermines the very real work this government has done in exposing and rooting out corruption.

I believe political leaders who contend that allegations made against them are false, must challenge them in order to uphold the integrity of the office they hold.

This is precisely why I wrote to Peter Bruce openly and required him to apologise and retract his statement or face me in court over a defamation case.

This past Sunday, I received my answer from Peter Bruce which was published in his editorial piece in the Sunday Times. In it Bruce says:

He [Mashaba] has misconstrued this as me accusing him of corruption. I'm afraid I can't retract or apologise, but maybe I can help by making it clear that I do not regard Mashaba as dishonest or corrupt.”

It is apparent that Bruce has back tracked over his original remarks. Presumably he was advised by lawyers that he would not be able to defend his unsubstantiated defamation of me. How else does one go from accusing a Mayor of allowing political influence in tenders, something expressly prohibited in law, to saying that the same Mayor is neither dishonest nor corrupt?

Perhaps a proper apology and full retraction was asking too much of Peter Bruce. After all, this would humiliate him after he has made it his raison d’etre to speak against our multi-party government in Johannesburg.

However, what it does at least show for all to see, is that when Bruce is pushed to account for the political slander that passes for editorial, he backs down quickly.

As a result of the multi-party government’s commitment to combat fraud and corruption, our forensics unit has investigated over 5000 cases totalling more than R33 billion in government expenditure.

The institutionalised looting that took place in Johannesburg was presided over by the previous political leadership, many of whom are implicated themselves. As a City, we are having to go to extraordinary lengths to force the NPA and law enforcement agencies to ensure the politically connected see their day in court.

Bruce hero-worships this party of looters, while at the same time lamenting the level of corruption in our country. This is an irony that clearly escapes him while he slanders those who combat corruption.

I will direct my attention to the more productive task of ensuring that the corrupt are arrested, prosecuted and civilly pursed for all public monies taken.

Issued by Herman Mashaba, Executive Mayor, City of Joburg, 2 June 2019