HUMAN Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi this week came out guns blazing against a former Housing Development Agency (HDA) senior official, who has made serious corruption allegations against his former bosses.
Malik Kashe, HDA development manager until the end of last month (November), accused one of his bosses of approving about R20.3 million in pre-payments to consultants for the Upgrading of Informal Settlement Programme (UISP) meant to benefit across four district municipalities in the Eastern Cape in 2021.
Kubayi told the Sunday Independent that she had asked for a full report from HDA and that questions have been raised about housing projects in the Eastern Cape.
In July, Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane publicly demanded that the HDA return the money the provincial government had paid it as an implementing agent, or to build houses as promised.
Kubayi said Kashe should account, and she threatened to open a criminal case against him. She said millions of rands in projects have been lost in the Eastern Cape.
”He must account … he is not an exception,” Kubayi said, adding that Kashe could not blame other officials who left the HDA more than a year ago.
In his affidavit, Kashe stated that another former executive called him to a meeting in August 2021 and handed him a piece of paper with six companies that he wanted to benefit from the UISP in the Eastern Cape, which was valued at more than R270m for 2021/22 alone.
”When I informed him of the impossibility [of] that assignment, he simply stated that he had made commitments to the ‘leadership of the Eastern Cape’ on these appointments,” Kashe said.
According to the affidavit, when he returned to the office one of his colleagues had the same list of companies, but Kashe said they chose to ignore it based on ethical grounds.
He added that he was later removed from the UISP and the consultants hired were paid more than R20m a few days after their appointment.
Kashe said an ANC official contacted another of his colleagues with whom they had served in the Buffalo City Metro regional executive committee and the conversation was over loudspeaker.
”At the heart of the conversation was the fact that our presence in the Eastern Cape [HDA] office hampers their potential to gain access to money (state funds). This statement would be repeated to us so often, it becomes an opening line in our conversations with friends in the political space,” he said.
Kashe had undertaken to provide details of corrupt practices at the HDA through an independent investigator or the Special Investigating Unit.
The General Industries Workers Union of SA (Giwusa), of which Kashe is a member, said its members and staff at HDA no longer had confidence in the management, the board and its political principals.
Giwusa said Kashe was placed on precautionary suspension for almost five months but the HDA ignored and trivialised every protestation of the irregularity of this procedure.
”They also refused to charge Mr Kashe in this period until (Tuesday), barely a week before the end of his contract with HDA,” the union said.
According to Giwusa, Kashe was only charged after the union threatened to expose the matter in the media and after the HDA learnt that he no longer had any intention to remain with the agency following what it described as his constructive dismissal.
He also compiled and submitted evidence of corruption long before any of the charges against him and any of the circumstances giving raise to them, according to the union.