Pretoria - A Pretoria landlord leasing his building to the City of Tshwane has accused municipal officials responsible for the procurement of underhanded tactics and corruption. The row was sparked by the City’s “sudden” relocation from the building it had been leasing for 15 years.
The City had been paying about R5 million a month for the 17-storey Bothongo Plaza. It has since vacated a part of the building, and is due to move out of the rest by the end of the month.
In July last year, the metro moved out of a section without following due processes, according to Bothongo Group chairperson Keith Bothongo.
Speaking exclusively to Pretoria News yesterday, Bothongo accused unnamed City officials of soliciting bribes from him, saying that because he constantly refused the municipality decided to take their business elsewhere by relocating without putting it to tender.
Bothongo said: “I refused to pay bribes to the officials and because of that they wanted to move out … and they have moved out without even following due processes. They moved out of the building, saying there was an understanding that I could have evicted them … That is a lie because we have not even written a letter to evict them.”
Bothongo said he had written to the city manager Mmaseabea Mutlaneng, copying mayor Randall Williams and DA leader John Steenhuisen on Friday.
“We are awaiting (a) response from the municipality and after that we can consider our options,” said Bothongo.
The letter, seen by Pretoria News, states in part: “Our group was approached in the past by Tshwane municipal officials soliciting bribes in return for the lease renewals on the two buildings (Bothongo East and West) and we’ve always refused.”
Tshwane spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said: “These are serious allegations, and we encourage the landlord to report the matter to law enforcement officials. We also have a forensic division in the municipality and we will be investigating this matter thoroughly.”