Rabelani Dagadaw was axed as member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for finance. File picture: Chris Collingridge/ANA
Johannesburg - Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba is on a mission to recover money from the fired head of finance in the council Rabelani Dagada, who was nailed for allegedly defrauding the city.

The mayor made this assertion to The Star on Monday, following the axing of Dagada as member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for finance. He was implicated in a “jobs and tenders for pals” scandal last year.

The former MMC could also face criminal charges, Mashaba vowed.

The dismissal follows a series of reports published in The Star, which showed how Dagada’s long-time confidante Dr Seth Mukwevho had allegedly scored a lucrative two-month contract through his company Radongo, worth R193 000, due to the undue influence of the former MMC.

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Mukwevho was then appointed a director in the city's finance department after the contract ended in June, and promoted to group head of treasury less than three months after his initial appointment - also allegedly as a result of Dagada’s undue influence.

The reports elicited the ire of Mashaba, who immediately tasked the city’s group forensic and investigation services to probe the developments that exposed an alleged conflict of interest.

An irate Mashaba, who visited The Star on Monday, said the investigation showed “compelling evidence” of "gross corruption and collusion” between Dagada and Mukwevho, as well as a finance official identified by Mashaba only as Rendani.

Mashaba said Rendani was involved with Dagada and Mukwevho in allegedly defrauding the city. Rendani and Mukwevho have both been suspended pending internal disciplinary processes, Mashaba said.

Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ANA

The probe showed that the fraud allegedly committed by Dagada included:

Undeclared conflicts of interests and nepotism.

Exertion of undue influence to benefit “individuals closely associated with him”.

Price-fixing by the former MMC performed in tandem with a service provider, allegedly to swindle the city.

On whether the city was mulling a civil case against the three individuals, including Dagada, to recoup the lost money, Mashaba was emphatic: “Absolutely.”

But Mashaba would not disclose the cumulative amount which Dagada had allegedly defrauded the city out of.

“I will be charging him criminally for this matter, and I would like him to respond to these damning allegations through that process. As the executive mayor of Joburg, I’m convinced that the evidence contained in that report is compelling enough for me,” he said.

But Dagada slammed Mashaba for axing him, daring the mayor to follow through on his threat to lay criminal charges.

“Seeing that we are talking about corruption here, I must be taken to the police station. What I’m saying is that this is mud that has been thrown at me since last year in the hope that some would stick,” Dagada told The Star, shortly after being dismissed.

The sacked MMC said Mashaba had been engaged in a “concerted effort” to get rid of him since June last year and that this was the fifth time.

“The reasons (for my removal) changed. For example, the reasons were that we were not collecting enough revenue, but I’ve proved that to be wrong. When we arrived, the ANC was collecting R2.6billion (a month) on average.

"We are collecting R3bn - sometimes we collect R3.3bn,” said Dagada. He added that the forensic report was “biased” and claims there was no evidence against him, but only the “perception” that he was involved in improprieties.

Dagada vowed to approach the courts to challenge his dismissal. Dagada said he was not involved in procurement processes in the city.

“The city manager and the group financial officer have to account if any contracts were awarded irregularly,” he said.

But Mashaba dismissed Dagada’s claims, saying the former head of finance was shown the forensic report that implicated him and did not dispute its contents, but only queried how investigators sourced their information.

“Yesterday morning (when I met with Dagada), I had no time to deal with him on this evidence. I have reported this matter to the ethics committee, where this evidence will be dealt with, as well as other processes," the mayor said.

“But the evidence of the corruption and collusion with these individuals is there in black and white - he cannot deny it. He has a right, like any South African, to approach legal advisers and ask where and how the forensic department accessed this information,” Mashaba said.

The Star