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Ekurhuleni’s Imogen Mashazi, a no-nonsense approach to maladministration and reckless spending

Ekurhulen municipal manager Dr Imogen Mashazi. Picture: Supplied

Ekurhulen municipal manager Dr Imogen Mashazi. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 9, 2023

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“Most of the corruption in South Africa is in the local government sphere, happens mostly in the North West, Mpumalanga and Free State. Much of the corruption remains unreported and has the most effect on the government’s ability to create work and stabilise the economy.”

This is the view of local government expert Professor Gerhard Bezuidenhout yesterday.

Bezuidenhout agrees with head of the specialised crime unit (Hawks) Godfrey Lebeya, who gave Parliament a list of the most prevalent cases of municipal corruption.

The municipalities that have, however, received flying colours for their stand against corruption are Ekurhuleni and Cape Town. Ekurhuleni is believed to have cleaned out the rot since the appointment of Dr Imogen Mashazi as municipal manager. Mashazi is known for her no-nonsense approach to maladministration and reckless spending.

Lebeya informed the members of the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs that the majority of corruption cases were located in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and the North West. The Hawks were looking into 14 incidents of corruption in the municipality of Matlosana; nine cases were being investigated in Rustenburg; and eight cases were being looked into in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda municipality.

In Maluti-a-Phofung municipality, there were 13 corruption cases under investigation followed by Matjhabeng with six, Mafube with five and Masilonyana and Moqhaka municipalities each had four cases.

In Gauteng, the Hawks were investigating 20 cases in Tshwane and in the City of Joburg there were seven cases of corruption. In Mpumalanga, the Hawks were probing 10 corruption cases at Dr JS Moroka municipality. In Emalahleni, there were five cases and there were four cases in Govan Mbeki municipality.

According to Bezuidenhout, there is a lot to be learnt from Ekurhuleni on development, service delivery and clean governance. “Much of government’s spend goes to municipalities and because of the entrenched tender system that money goes to waste or to the benefit of greedy politically connected tenderpreneurs.

“A lot of our problems would be resolved if municipalities resolved the issues of hijacked buildings, crime in the city centres, unclean water and potholes. At this point, municipalities are where the taxpayers rand is dumped. Ekurhuleni is one of the examples of a good approach to service delivery and clean governance,” he said.

Meanwhile, The City of Johannesburg has filed an application for leave to appeal against the the high court’s decision on the appointment of the city manager, Floyd Brink. This is after the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, declared on Tuesday that the appointment was unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.

This follows the DA’s urgent application in May to have the appointment reviewed. Brink was appointed by the City of Joburg’s council in February despite not passing the vetting process.

In a twist of events, the city said on Wednesday that there were a number of legal grounds for concern in the high court judgment which it believed an appeal court might decide upon differently.

Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda said this automatically suspended the implementation of the judgment until such time the application for leave to appeal is considered, and if granted, until such a time an appeal court judgment is issued.

“The city will continue to dedicate its resources and focus to the urgent needs of residents and service delivery,” Gwamanda said. Amid the judgment, the DA claimed victory, saying the council must be dissolved.