Gauteng Local Government and Housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi has refused to provide The Star with proof that he paid for the personal purchases made with his official credit card.
On Tuesday, The Star contacted Mmemezi on one of his two cellphones and asked for detailed proof of payment to his credit card since he took office in November 2010.
Instead of answering questions, Mmemezi accused The Star of being “after his blood” before ending the call.
In a series of articles since May, The Star has revealed how Mmemezi used his state-provided credit card to make various purchases of groceries in Krugersdorp and other parts of the country, including Flagstaff – near his birthplace of Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape.
He also used the same credit card to buy a painting worth R10 000 through a McDonald’s restaurant in Pretoria in October last year.
Mmemezi also used it to make overnight bookings at various hotels and lodges around Joburg – including one less than 5km from his home.
While he refused to talk to The Star, in a fiery radio interview on Tuesday he denied the allegations made against him.
There were seven denials, a threat to sue for defamation, and unanswered questions as he slammed his detractors during an interview on Talk Radio 702.
The latest accusation against him is that he approved an unwarranted car allowance for his daughter and five other Mogale City council employees, ordering that hers be backdated by four years.
His strong denials came after his repeated failure to respond to questions from The Star over the past few weeks.
Denial 1: Mmemezi denied that he was about to be fired, claiming he had met Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and that he had filed numerous reports regarding his alleged financial mismanagement and nepotism with the integrity commissioner.
Denial 2: He said his personal assets had not been audited since the release of reports claiming he had used his state-issued credit card for personal purchases. He said it was his department that had been audited.
Denial 3: He said he did not misuse his government credit card. He said officials on his level were, according to the rights dictated by the ministerial handbook, entitled to make personal purchases as long as they paid the money back. One such example was a painting he reportedly bought from McDonald’s for R10 000. Mmemezi said that despite a monthly allowance of R50 000, he had spent only R150 000 of his department’s budget in the past 18 months.
DeniaL 4: He said he had not failed to submit an accident report in a recent car crash in his state-issued vehicle, denying again that the department had been forced to pay for repairs due to insurance issues. He had filed the report “within 30 minutes of the crash”; and that the driver of the other vehicle had fled the scene because “he was drunk”.
DeniaL 5: He said he had not received any questions regarding the allegations against him from The Star. Reports had been published without his having been given the chance to respond. “I am one MEC not to dodge questions,” he told 702’s John Robbie.
DeniaL 6: He rejected claims that he had hired his niece as a secretary within his department, and taken her on overseas trips while leaving his personal assistant behind.
Denial 7: He said he was not responsible for approving and backdating an unwarranted car allowance for his daughter.
Throughout the interview, he denied any financial mismanagement and said that at that stage in his career he did not have the authority to sign off on the allowance alone.
Describing himself at the time as a “junior official” and “a nobody” within the Mogale City municipality, Mmemezi said the car allowance was signed off first by several senior officers, including the chief financial officer, municipal manager and other higher-ups in the HR department before he signed merely the calculations. He did not clarify if he was responsible for the four years of backpayments to his daughter.