Melissa Whitehead
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has appointed Gershwin Fortune as acting commissioner for the Transport and Urban Development Authority pending an investigation into allegations against suspended commissioner Melissa Whitehead.

The outcome of the investigation could leave her jobless, facing criminal charges and having to repay misspent millions. 

Whitehead was suspended last Friday for covering up fraud and tender irregularities in which mayor Patricia De Lille has been implicated.

Fortune, the portfolio manager for Integrated Transport, has been appointed with immediate effect. He has 19 years experience working in local government, and international experience as an urban transport specialist for the World Bank.  

Independent investigators from Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys investigated the allegations against senior staff members.

Their report revealed that a forensic report showed prima facie evidence that “Whitehead was involved in irregular expenditure in relation to payments in the aggregate amount of R43 801 807.06 made to Volvo for 29 bus chassis.”

It also found that payments totalling R29 584 368 made to Scania for 24 bus chassis during June 2014 were irregular.

The report also found that De Lille may be guilty of gross misconduct for allegedly advising former city manager city manager Achmat Ebrahim that he need not report to the City council an allegation of misconduct against Whitehead.

In a statement, transport and urban development mayco member Brett Herron said the TDA was running a number of projects that are critical to the spatial transformation of the City.

“The turn-around plan for urban commuter rail, and the provision of affordable and inclusionary housing on well-located land, count among the key priorities we will be focusing on in the coming months,”  said Herron.

Fortune will oversee these projects, as well as a number of other initiatives.

 “We have a lot of work to do, and I am enthusiastic and excited about seeing these projects come to fruition,” said Herron.

Political Bureau