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Transforming Society

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Restoring Dignity

Public Protector, SAHRC want SIU, Hawks to probe R2.2bn Alexendra renewal project again

10 July 2021

Johannesburg - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and the SA Human Rights Commission have ordered Gauteng Premier David Makhura to request President Cyril Ramaphosa to launch another investigation into the controversial R2.2 billion Alexandra renewal project.

The Chapter 9 institutions on Friday released their joint investigation report into allegations of poor socio-economic conditions, lack of essential services, potential prejudice and impact on fundamental human rights in the sprawling township north of Johannesburg by certain organs of state.

The renewal project was first announced by former president Thabo Mbeki in his 2001 State of the Nation Address, where he promised that Alexandra would be developed after several previous aborted efforts and would have an initial estimated budget of R1.3bn over seven years.

Mkhwebane and the SAHRC after protests in the township by residents and their allegations that the R1.3bn was not accounted for.

The matter has now also been referred to Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebea for the corruption-busting unit to consider launching a criminal investigation into the project.

Makhura has been told to ask Ramaphosa issue a Special Investigating Unit proclamation to examine procurement fraud and/or irregularities, post facto approvals, irregular awards, advance payments, conflict of interests, and unauthorised expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and any other form of maladministration and/or misappropriation of public funds in the project.

Mkhwebane and the SAHRC also want looted public funds and the development of an overall multidisciplinary approach and collaboration between provincial and local spheres of government for an ultimate realisation and improvement of service delivery issues in Alexandra.

The Public Protector and the commission have also demanded that the City of Johannesburg must submit its forensic investigation report into the project to the two institutions.

They have undertaken that once the forensic investigation conducted by law firm Madhlopa and Thenga Incorporated Attorneys is finalised it will be shared with all relevant law enforcement agencies.

The Public Protector and the commission found that between 2001 and 2013 R2.21bn was spent on the project with the Gauteng department of human settlements responsible for nearly R1.4bn while the City of Joburg footed R444 million of the bill.

The municipal infrastructure grant contributed R173m, another R109m from the Gauteng department of transport and R88m by the Human Settlements Fund, which was only between 2001 and 2005.

An additional R15m was from the Gauteng department of economic development.

The Public Protector and the SAHRC want the City of Joburg to submit

Madhlopa and Thenga Incorporated Attorneys’ forensic investigation report into the project within 30 days.

The municipality must also deliver a project plan for the probes by its group forensic and investigation services (GFIS) and Madhlopa and Thenga Incorporated Attorneys within 30 days.

The GFIS seized documents from the Gauteng department of human settlements as part of its investigation into the project.

Mkhwebane and the SAHRC could not determine whether the allegation that the total administration of the project did not accord with the duties imposed by the Constitution and other applicable laws due to the unavailability of documents.

”The Gauteng department of human settlements did not avail records in connection with financial, procurement, business plans, maps, drawings, contracts, list of service providers, and expenditure incurred or undertaken under the Alexandra renewal project due alleged seizure of such records by City of Joburg’s forensic investigators,” reads the report.

The report also states that as a result of the lack or absence of such records no audit could be done by the Office of Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke and Mkhwebane and the SAHRC to determine the just and fairness of the procurement processes and the value for money spent under the project.

Source: IOL

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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