Gautrain station water cuts: Mashaba 'scoring cheap political points' - Mamabolo

Gautrain (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Gautrain (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba's comments on Sandton Gautrain station water cuts display "extreme desperation", Gauteng Public Transport and Road Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo said.

Mamabolo said Mashaba was trying to drag the Gauteng provincial government (GPG) and Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) into a rates and taxes dispute between the City and the station's landlord, Cedar Park Properties.

The City claims municipal rates have not been paid since 2013, resulting in a debt of R8m.

The dispute also led to a situation in which the water supply at the Sandton station was cut off two weeks ago.

However, Mamabolo said the dispute had "nothing to do with the GPG and GMA".

He said the cuts at the station were made even though the municipality accounts were paid.

"For the record, this matter has nothing to do with the Gautrain Management Agency and the Gauteng provincial government as this is a dispute between the City of Johannesburg and a company called Cedar Park.

"How the mayor has made it a provincial government issue is bizarre and smacks of a desperate attempt at scoring cheap political points."

READ | No water for Sandton Gautrain station until landlord pays R8m - City of Johannesburg

He added that the GMA was unsuccessful in its plea with the City to reconnect water supply which was impacting commuters.

Temporary measures have been put in place to mitigate the water cuts at the station.

In a statement last week, Mashaba said damning information came to light during a billing issue with the property, which is before the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, News24 reported.

The issue stemmed from a 2009 agreement between Joburg Property Group, on behalf of the City, and Cedar Park.

Joburg Property Group sold the land to Cedar Park for R280m, "however, the transfer of this land was only registered in the deeds office in 2013," Mashaba said.

"One must ask, why would the City ever finance the sale of its own land to a private company?

"This is not only absurd but highly suspect," he said.

ALSO READ | Gautrain Sandton station still without water, City to defend cutting supply in court

He also claimed that ANC City of Johannesburg caucus leader Geoff Makhubo was the MMC for finance at the time, and he would have approved the bond in favour of Cedar Park. The relationship between the two was "highly suspicious", he said.

Responding to the allegations, Makhubo said: "The mayor is dragging me into this latest issue of a dispute between Cedar Park and the City given that Cedar Park is partly owned by Regiments.

"Whenever Regiments or the sinking fund are mentioned, he regurgitates the same rhetoric even when the issue at hand has nothing to do with me. Since the mayor began making these allegations, which are criminal in nature, we have requested that he present evidence to the authorities, so that the law can take its course. We are still waiting."

Makhubo said Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) reported to the economic development department and pointed out that, except for reports JPC took to the mayoral committees, which are discussed collectively, as MMC of finance he would have had nothing to do with the deal.

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