NO NONSENSE: Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba.
Johannesburg - The ANC has called for Herman Mashaba to resign as Joburg mayor amid accusations he covered up fraudulent activities allegedly committed by member of the mayoral committee (MMC) Sharon Peetz, who was fired on Wednesday.

The MMC is accused of buying a plane ticket for her mother to Spain on the city’s account.

ANC Joburg spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said the allegations against Peetz had been discussed at a council meeting.

Matongo said Peetz’s fraudulent activities were uncovered when the travel agent sent an invoice to the city for payment.

“Diligent officials noticed the fraud. The travel agent said Peetz had instructed her to book her mother and pay them using the city’s accounts. Peetz, during the meeting, denied the allegation. The mayor then secretly asked her to pay the agent, which she did not do. It was only when the agent demanded money from the council that Mashaba fired her.”

He added that the mayor fired her because he was about to be exposed for having made an agreement with her to cover up the gross misconduct.

“We are not impressed by the mayor’s publicity stunt. He pretends to be a man of integrity, yet he tried to cover up by agreeing with the councillor to pay back the money. We call on the mayor to step down as he was part of the cover up.”

Matongo said Mashaba had covered for Peetz because she worked with him as a business partner in some ventures in eThekwini.

He claims it was Peetz who introduced the mayor to DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

Mashaba announced his decision to remove Peetz from the mayoral committee on grounds of suspected misconduct.

The federal executive of the DA has agreed to this move, he said.

The mayor, said Peetz, would be referred to the party for consideration of further disciplinary processes to determine her culpability.

During a council meeting earlier this year, an allegation was levelled against Peetz that she had acted irregularly in arranging for a family member to accompany her on an official trip to Spain.

Through a forensic investigation conducted at the time, it was determined that the city had not incurred any costs for the family member. It was, therefore, determined that the allegations at the time were without merit.

“Recent evidence has been brought to our attention that the proof of payment, between Peetz and the travel agent, which the councillor had provided to my office as proof she had paid, was allegedly falsified. Further forensic investigation has been undertaken into proof of payment. The money remains allegedly owed to the travel agent. The city has not incurred any losses.

“Through her actions, Peetz misled me, the council and residents of Joburg.”

The mayor said he had made it clear that under his leadership the city would not tolerate corruption.

“Irrespective of one’s role in the city, and irrespective of your political affiliation, there will be accountability for wrongdoing. The comfort that I offer the residents of our city is that for the first time, our residents will learn of such acts of misconduct and they will see action taken,” he said.

While a decision is considered for a new MMC of economic development to be appointed, MMC Dr Mpho Phalatse will stand in.

In February, Mashaba fired MMC for environmental and infrastructure services, Anthony Still, because they held different views on how to deal with allegations of corruption and fraud at City Power.

The Star