Johannesburg. Picture: Supplied
Johannesburg - The City of Joburg's finance department and City Power have emerged as the biggest contributors to its R16.2billion fraud, corruption, theft and maladministration racket.

These shocking revelations are contained in an internal document compiled by the city’s Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS), which showed how finance had accounted for more than R8bn in graft and wasteful expenditure, which the GFIS has uncovered, while City Power has been fingered for more than R2bn.

The document, which The Star has seen, was tabled at a closed mayoral committee meeting in November. It highlighted that 65% of Joburg’s delinquency was committed by the city’s 14 departments, and amounted to about R9.9bn, while its seven entities accounted for R5.5bn. More than R800million was recorded as unauthorised, irregular, fruitless or wasteful expenditure.

Lucky Sindane, a director in the GFIS, said the department could not comment on its report as it was still an internal document at this stage.

However, mayor Herman Mashaba, who spoke to The Star last week, said the uncovering of what he described as the billions looted from the city's coffers was a concerted effort by his administration, after it had declared corruption “public enemy number one”.

“Then there is a further R16.2bn in corruption where substations were claimed to have been built but were not.

"And regarding the Metro Trading Company's (MTC) purchase of a fibre broadband network: in my report I said it was worth R1.3bn. In fact, the price is standing at R1.7bn - and growing,” Mashaba said.

MTC, the mayor said, was a municipal entity created in 2015 to purchase about 900km of fibre; a project which Mashaba said was ridden with corruption, according to an investigation that implicated high-ranking politicians in the graft.

“Regarding the MTC issue, people inside (President Jacob) Zuma’s administration benefited up to R200m. When the city bought this (network), some of the people who benefited are (cabinet) ministers,” Mashaba said, without disclosing any names.

“There’s also the R68m paid for a substation in Eldorado Park. When I went there, there was no substation. Can anybody really blame me for (fighting) this corruption of R16.2bn and stealing of public money openly?” he asked.

The mayor added that these investigations were giving the ANC “sleepless nights”, saying the party was culpable for massive theft in the City of Joburg.

Jolidee Matongo, the ANC’s greater Joburg spokesperson, slammed Mashaba’s claims of a corrupt ANC.

On Sunday, Matongo said the DA didn’t expect to win Joburg “by default” in 2016 and did not have a policy programme to implement at the time. “So the only thing that they thought would be best for them to do was to go on a corruption narrative that will sustain them until the 2019 general elections, while they are trying to formulate a programme,” Matongo said, adding that the ANC detested corruption.

He said the previous ANC administration had introduced a raft of measures to curb corruption, including the establishment of an ombudsman's office and the group audit and risk department, which he said Mashaba had elevated to “some kind of police department used to chase people”.

Matongo added that the mayor should make the forensic report public so that the ANC could also help the city to fight corruption through the identification of erring service providers and departments.

Meanwhile, the GFIS, which was established in November 2016 and has investigated 2469 cases as of November last year, said in its report that between July and September, 114 of 476 corruption and theft-related reported cases had been resolved.

Forty three criminal cases were opened within three months; 16 cases were taken to court and prosecuted, including 11 for fraud and corruption, and four for theft of the city's assets.

Mashaba said he wanted to see more arrests being effected within the city, including the arrest of the implicated cabinet ministers, who allegedly benefited to the tune of R200m from the graft.

“Unfortunately, as the city, we don’t have those powers (to arrest people),” Mashaba said. The city had to rely on the police to assist them, he added.

The Star