Herman Mashaba stands firm: I was 'nowhere near' Afrirent R1bn tender

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Herman Mashaba
Herman Mashaba
Elizabeth Sejake

Former City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says he has "never been involved in any way relating to tender processes" following an amaBhungane report on a controversial tender issued to fleet management company Afrirent.

The investigative centre is reporting that the re-examination of forensic reports compiled under Mashaba's administration can throw up new information on the Afrirent contract.

The decision to re-examine the reports was led by the ANC's Geoff Makhubo, Mashaba's successor.  

AmaBhungane reported that Makhubo's administration suspended city officials, including Sanjay Dubru, who was "alleged to have interfered improperly in the procurement process".

Dubru did not respond to attempts to contact him for comment, amaBhungane noted.

Makhubo and Mashaba had both been vocal about the state of the city's coffers, pointing fingers at each other - or their present or former parties - for the mismanagement of public funds.

Afrirent allegedly paid a company called Mahuna Investments R500 000 in two tranches just before it was awarded the R1.2 billion fleet tender. AmaBhungane claimed Mahuna was a slush fund for Julius Malema and his EFF party. The EFF denied this.

In June last year, Mashaba said an investigation by the city's Group Forensics and Investigation Services unit found there was no political interference in the awarding of the contract.

The probe was launched following the first amaBhungane report in November 2018.

READ | Firm that won R1bn Joburg fleet contract paid Malema-EFF 'slush fund'

Mashaba, then a member of the DA, had strong links with the EFF, but he denied he was influenced by the red berets in return for the party supporting the city's 2018/2019 budget.

On Friday morning, Mashaba said he was willing to "stand before a judge" and swear that he had "never influenced or involved myself in tenders".

"Consistent with my position that I was nowhere near this tender process, I do not seek to defend the supply chain processes of the City, Afrirent or Mahuna. The investigation report found problems in the City’s processes and I cannot account for the actions or associations of these companies," Mashaba said in a statement.

"If there is further wrongdoing found, it must be investigated, preferably by law enforcement agencies whose jurisdiction is not limited, and the strongest form of action must be taken."

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