Cape town - The axe has fallen on a high-ranking City of Cape Town official accused of colluding with the construction mafia and the underworld.
The Weekend Argus can reveal that the municipality has now fired Director of Public Housing, Sipokazi September, after she was found guilty at her disciplinary hearing.
According to a source, she had been suspended for many months after cops raided her office and conducted a search and seizure operation amid tender fraud allegations against former Mayco member for human settlements, Malusi Booi.
“On the day they raided Malusi's office, they also raided hers. Staff on the floor reported seeing the search warrant posted on her door and it had listed the names of all the alleged suspects and next to her name were the names of three underworld figures. She was suspended for months and went to a disciplinary hearing and was sacked last month.”
The source said late last year cops returned to the human settlements directorate where they again raided offices and took paperwork of two more officials.
“They came to the officers of Duke Gumede who was the project manager of the Valhalla Housing Site and Xolile Fula who is the manager of staff housing and hostels. Both were also suspended as the investigation into dealings with dubious contractors continue.”
City spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo confirmed the incidents and said: “September was charged in a disciplinary process and summarily dismissed on January 9.
“The City can also confirm that the two other staff members mentioned are suspended for serious misconduct”.
He said he was unable to disclose the charges against the officials but added the municipality was serious about taking action against officials found guilty of misconduct.
“The City is not at liberty to disclose any charges as the matters are either under further judicial review or did not progress to disciplinary processes as yet. ”
Mayco member for human settlements Carl Pophaim welcomed the actions against officials, saying that the City would leave no stone unturned as they cleaned house.
“In the past five months I have committed myself to rebuilding the public's confidence in public housing. Our response has shown that it does not matter if you are a senior politician or an official we will deal with allegations of maleficence decisively.
“If it means we must investigate all 900 officials in the directorate we will leave no stone unturned”
Pophaim said the investigations had revealed that underworld figures linked to the construction mafia had their claws deep inside the directorate.
“It is shocking that this started with threats of violence at certain sites and has uncovered how these syndicates have worked their way into the directorate using officials.”
The latest developments come just a month after City manager Lungelo Mbandazayo announced that he had blacklisted contractors with links to alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield's wife, Nicole Johnson.
In an exclusive interview with the Weekend Argus he revealed that Johnson was barred from doing business with the municipality.
Mbandazayo suspended all tenders and launched a mammoth investigation into companies and officials linked to the murky underworld, resulting in the suspension of officials and the blacklisting of companies.
At the time he said the investigation into extortion by gangs has led to the municipality blacklisting 12 companies affiliated to Johnson and he said they had uncovered links between officials and Johnson's companies.
The duo are in custody after they were arrested in October last year on a litany of charges relating to an alleged murder plot of a former employee.
Captain FC Van Wyk, says they are unable to comment on the investigation into Booi and others.
“The matter you are referring to is still ongoing and of a sensitive nature, this office cannot divulged further information on this matter.”