City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said on Wednesday he had met the head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, the previous day to bring a number of serious criminal matters in the city to his attention.

Mashaba said in the meeting with General Godfrey Lebeya he expressed his concern over what he called the failure of the criminal justice system to ensure that "rampant corruption uncovered in the city of Johannesburg results in criminal convictions".

The mayor, whose Democratic Alliance has governed Johannesburg in an alliance with other parties since wresting control from the African National Congress in 2016 elections, said he also met General Shadrack Sibiya, head of the city’s Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS) mandated with uncovering corruption fraud and theft.

"To date, they have been investigating over 4 000 cases totalling R24 billion," Mashaba said in a statement.

"Since its inception in late 2016, the GFIS unit has completed over 100 forensic investigations with serious criminal findings. Yet, despite the city’s efforts in exposing and ending this rot, criminal cases opened by the city are not resulting in prosecutions."

Mashaba said Lebeya undertook during a "constructive engagement" to ensure a better working relationship between the Hawks and the city, with the GFIS unit being given the chance to present forensic reports to the Hawks leadership and cases being transferred to its serious crime unit.

He said some of the cases in focus during the meeting included the R1.7 billion failed Johannesburg broadband network project, from which some cabinet ministers allegedly improperly benefited, and the allegedly corrupt relationship between Regiments fund managers and the city's former member of the mayor committee for finance.

"The extent of the looting that has been uncovered in the city was beyond what I could ever have imagined," said Mashaba.

"However, of even greater concern, has been the failure of the criminal justice system to ensure that these criminals face the full might of the law."

Mashaba said he had requested a meeting with the incoming new head of the National Prosecuting Authority Advocate Shamila Batohi once she officially takes up her position next month.

"With Johannesburg being the economic engine of our country, it is essential that we do not turn a blind eye to the rampant looting and theft which took place," he added.

"This will be key to rebuilding trust, getting our country working again and on the path to prosperity."

African News Agency/ANA