Mashaba blames NPA for 'hindering' fight against crime in Joburg

Johannesburg – Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba believes the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is to blame for hindering his fight to clean up the metro.

Mashaba, in a sit-down interview with News24 this week, said he wished he could have the cooperation of the NPA in dealing with those who had been implicated in fraud and corrupt activities in the city.

The mayor has, since coming into office in August 2016, launched numerous campaigns aimed at cleaning up both the city and the office which runs it. This has resulted in several arrests, including those of officials, some accused of stealing property from the metro. Others have been linked with scams to defraud customers and the City.

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On Tuesday, Mashaba’s office announced that two Jozi@Work leaders had been arrested for attempting to solicit a bribe from their former supervisor in order to stop protests which were taking place outside of the metro’s offices.

The Jozi@Work programme, aimed at creating job opportunities for young city residents, was established by Mashaba’s ANC predecessor Parks Tau.

It was canned by the incumbent, who argued that it was structured to only benefit a few people with close links to those in charge of it.

"Unfortunately, final prosecution is not done by us, it’s done by the national government [referring to the NPA] and that is where I believe we are being failed," Mashaba told News24.

'Process takes time'

He said they had processed a lot of cases, but things had slowed down once handed over to the NPA.

"As you are aware, as a city we have put together our own forensic department to assist us in this regard of arresting people, suspending people and people going through disciplinary hearings," Mashaba said, adding that he wished the City received more help in trying to bring criminals to book.

"We have so many cases that must go before the courts, but unfortunately they must be brought before the courts by the NPA and that unfortunately is not my competence," he said.

Regional NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw Mjonondwane, in defending the prosecutions body, said people were not arrested the one day and convicted the next.

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"They are processed. That takes time, due to the fact that even the accused are afforded the opportunity to tell their story. The entire process cannot be finalised in a few days," said Louw Mjonondwane.

She said several cases brought forward by the City of Johannesburg had been enrolled.

These include a case linked to hijacked buildings, a case of individuals accused of selling land, and the case of former ANC member of the mayoral council, Dan Bovu, who is accused of trying to sell state land.

Bovu’s matter is set down for trial on April 13.

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