This week, we take a look at City of Johannesburg events and news for the last week of November.
The Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, and the Speaker of Council Vasco Da Gama, survived a motion of no confidence against them on 30 November. This was the second motion the African National Congress (ANC) has applied for against the pair.
A City operational manager at the Department of Revenue was arrested on 29 November by members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) on charges of theft, fraud and corruption, and three members of the public handed themselves over. They were apprehended in connection with fraudulent refunds of about R28 million that were processed by City officials working at the refunds unit in the revenue department.
The cancelled R161-million fire engine contract has set back the process of getting the 29 much-needed new emergency vehicles for the City. It has now begun a new process to obtain the fire engines.
According to its website, the City’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) is one of the biggest emergency services units in Africa. It covers an area of 1 620km² and serves a population of almost five million.
The City is expecting five engines from the dismissed contractor before their agreement ends. A new tender process will be undertaken for the remaining 24.
The 42 unknown and unclaimed bodies that were transported by an undertaker who crashed on the M1 bridge on 15 November, were laid to rest in the Eldorado Park cemetery a week later. The incident prompted talk of closing gaps in the legislation guiding the handling and burial of the deceased. The City’s environmental health division will release draft Standard Operating Procedures document for stakeholders to engage with, and the process will culminate in final standards of procedure and ultimately a bylaw.
The underbelly of Joburg was recently revealed when Mashaba delved into the world of illegal mining, vandalism and illegal activities. Although illegal mining is not a concern in Joburg’s northern suburbs, in the west, south and east, illegal miners run rampant. Northern suburbs’ residents, on the other hand, face cable and infrastructure theft. In the inner city, road infrastructure theft is also highly common. Insurance claims have risen to R4,4 million due to accident damage arising from stolen road infrastructure and people falling into open manholes.
After nearly seven months, the City’s legal battle with its suspended ombudsman, Advocate S’du Gumede, is continuing and a new date has been set for his disciplinary hearing. Gumede has been embroiled in a long legal battle with the City ever since he was suspended in May this year and will again face accusations during a hearing in December.
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