Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said on Thursday that he will be investigating claims of manipulation in the City's R1 billion tender to allegedly benefit the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, while also rejecting claims that he might have had knowledge of this.

This comes after the investigative unit AmaBhungane tweeted earlier in the day that it will publish an exposé which will reveal that a company that won a R1 billion Joburg fleet contract had allegedly paid monies to a "slush fund" belonging to Malema and the EFF.

In a statement, Mashaba said that allegations of this nature were extremely serious, as were the efforts of the multi-party government to clean-up the inherited fraud, corruption and maladministration. Mashaba, a Democratic Alliance member, governs Johannesburg in a multi-party agreement with the support of the EFF and other smaller parties. 

"I have noted with great concern a tweet published by AmaBhungane today, alleging a kickback being provided to the EFF in connection with the award of a R1 billion fleet contract. I reject any claim that the multi-party government is complicit in any alleged act of wrong-doing, having demonstrated our track record in investigating claims and acting without fear or favour," Mashaba said.

"Our efforts to combat corruption to date have seen me taking action even against Members of my own Mayoral Committee because the efforts to clean up government can know no political orientation. I will not allow any political consideration to tarnish my reputation nor that of the multi-party government. I will not govern at all costs."

The EFF is yet to respond to these allegations, except for Malema retweeting comments that his party was under attack by the media. 

Mashaba said that where wrongdoing is found in this investigation, the City will ensure that the harshest and most decisive action is taken against those found wanting.

"Ultimately, we must be judged on how we respond to serious claims of this nature. In this regard our group forensic and investigation services, under General Shadrack Sibiya, have been directed to investigate these claims fully," Mashaba said.

"I would like to assure the residents of our City that any finding of wrongdoing, arising from this investigation, will be acted upon without fear or favour. We will do so openly and transparently and in a manner which will demonstrate that efforts to stop the rampant corruption the City take no cognizance of politics."

African News Agency/ANA