Siduduzo Gumede is ready for complaints. Photo: Nokuthula Mbatha
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma’s office has referred a complaint about "serious unlawful acts" at the City of Johannesburg lodged by a suspended senior official to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

City of Johannesburg ombudsman S’du Gumede complained to Zuma’s office in July, claiming there was maladministration and irregularities in the municipality.

In his letter, Gumede said the council systematically blocked attempts to address his complaint about his office not getting its budget, correct salaries, staff, office infrastructure and equipment.

He accused the municipality of serious unlawful acts including doctoring his quarterly reports, intimidation, “engaging in illicit conspiracy to create fictitious prosecution on trumped up charges” and making injurious falsehoods to undermine his authority.

This week, Presidency director-general Dr Cassius Lubisi informed Gumede that his complaint had been referred to the SIU, saying it was best placed to deal with the allegations, according to correspondence seen by Independent Media.

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Gumede had told Zuma’s office that matters of maladministration and irregularities in a municipality with a budget of R56billion and in the context of the current political dispensation required a commission of inquiry.

Lubisi said the matter was referred to the SIU on the grounds that Gumede alleged there was serious maladministration, improper or unlawful conduct as well as unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money.

”According to section 2(1) of the Special Investigating Unit and Special Tribunal Act, the president may, whenever he or she deems it necessary on account of any of the grounds mentioned in subsection (2), By proclamation in the gazette refer the matter to an existing Special Investigating Unit for an investigation,” reads Lubisi’s letter in part.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba suspended Gumede in June for dishonesty and misconduct for failing to declare that he once had a business relationship with a director of a company that was awarded a tender.

The suspension was set aside by the Labour Court in Braamfontein.

The municipality has appealed to the Labour Appeal Court, which is expected to hand down its judgment before the end of the year.

A law firm hired by the City of Johannesburg cleared Gumede and stated that he had no obligation to declare a decade-old business relationship.

On Saturday, Mashaba welcomed the SIU’s intervention as long as it does not cost the City of Johannesburg any money.

He said he was unaware of the involvement of Zuma’s office.

”Now we can have another agency looking into this matter and why we suspended him and subjected him to disciplinary action,” he said

Mashaba said he was pleased because no one can manipulate the outcome and was happy to give Zuma’s office every available paper.

Gumede is scheduled to appear at a disciplinary hearing next week.

Sunday Independent