A 54-YEAR-OLD Gauteng father has blamed Housing and Local Government MEC Humphrey Mmemezi for loss of income, following his dismissal for corruption by Mogale City Municipality. Goduka Jezi told The Star Africa that his ordeal began in March 2010 after the municipality dismissed him as a messenger.
Jezi alleges that his crime was to collude with Mmemezi by collecting money from more than 100 people with a promise of jobs in the municipality. He allegedly gave all the money collected over a period of 16 months to Mmemezi before being bust. The decision to fire him came after several job seekers in the West Rand laid fraud charges against him when they failed to secure jobs at the municipality as promised.
The job seekers paid between R1 500 and R3 000 to Jezi after he promised that Norman Mopitseng, the municipality’s labour relations specialist at the time of the crimes, was going to organise jobs for them.
Jezi admits to the fraud, but insists that Mmemezi was the mastermind. At the time, Mmemezi was employed at Mogale City as the head of human capital – a position he held since 2008. Mmemezi became MEC in November 2010.
Jezi said Mmemezi had been his co-worker and shop steward at West Rand Mine in Carletonville before he worked as a general worker at Mogale City local clinic in 2000.
Detailing the trail of his criminal activities, Jezi said he met Mmemezi in August 2008, outside the town hall. “During our conversation, Humphrey asked me about Norman Mopitseng. I admitted knowing Mopitseng, because he was my shop steward at the time.
“Humphrey then told me that his mission at Mogale City was to fight against corruption in the municipality,” Jezi said.
“He then said he would need me to achieve his aim. We then agreed to meet the next day.”
He does not remember the exact dates, though. According to Jezi, the next meeting took place outside Jan de Klerk High School in Krugersdorp.
“He arrived there in his white Toyota double-cab bakkie. We stood outside the school’s premises. Humphrey then told me that his new job requires him to employ more people in the municipality. He asked me to go out and look for people wanting jobs. I complied. More people came forward and made several payments of between R1 500 to R3 000. In every instance, I made them state the amount of money they paid, and to sign that the money would be handed over to Mopitseng,” Jezi said.
Mopitseng was served with a suspension letter on February 2009 on allegations of taking bribes from job seekers, but Jezi continued to work in the municipality. According to Jezi, soon after Mopitseng was suspended, Mmemezi visited him at his house, where he found him with his wife, Maria Jezi.
“Humphrey then asked both of us to testify against Norman (Mopitseng). He also asked my wife to come to Mopitseng’s disciplinary hearing and testify that she gave me money and that I handed it over to Mopitseng. He promised to pay me R290 000 from the municipality’s money if I testified against Norman. My wife and I both repeated Humphrey’s version at the hearing,” Jezi said.
Mmemezi was also one of the witnesses.
Mopitseng was dismissed in February 2010 and he took the matter on appeal at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council.
Jezi said that after Mopitseng’s dismissal, he went to Mmemezi to find out about the R290 000 due to him for testifying, but was surprised when Mmemezi told him to also “expect a dismissal for committing corruption with Norman”.
“I was shocked by his comments but they became real on March 26, 2010, when I was served with a dismissal letter,” Jezi said.
He added that he went to the local police station where he made a sworn affidavit in which he implicated Mmemezi in the charges Mopitseng had been dismissed for.
Mopitseng was reinstated on April 7, 2011, after Jezi’s wife admitted before the bargaining council’s commissioner Sibongile Khoza that she had lied during her testimony in the internal hearing against Mopitseng. According to the arbitration award records, Maria Jezi “testified during Mopitseng’s disciplinary inquiry after being told by Mmemezi that she should do so”.
The commissioner overturned Mopitseng’s dismissal after she ruled that six witnesses, including Mmemezi, were not reliable and that some of them contradicted each other. Mmemezi was given an opportunity to clear his name, but he refused to do so.
The Star Africa sent Mmemezi a set of questions, including queries about claims that he offered Jezi R290 000.
In his reply, Mmemezi said: “Your questions were dreams that are not true. Thank you very much.” He then hung up. He was contacted on one of his cellphones.
Now Jezi faces the prospect of his bonded house being sold on auction due to non-payment, while Mmemezi still lives in his upmarket house with hi-tech security.
The Gauteng Provincial Government paid R330 000 in April last year to install hi-tech security, including CCTV cameras, in Mmemezi’s house in Krugersdorp.