Johannesburg mayor says MEC’s denial of corruption in Alexandra project ‘misguided’

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JOHANNESBURG, June 24 – Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba on Monday slammed Gauteng member of the executive council (MEC) for human settlements, urban planning, co-operative governance and traditional affairs Lebogang Maile’s denial that funds meant for the renewal of Alexandra township were misappropriated, as an attempt to cover up corruption.

In April Mashaba, whose Democratic Alliance runs Johannesburg in a coalition with other parties, announced a forensic investigation into the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP) which launched in 2001 but whose funding he said had been looted by officials from the national ruling African National Congress (ANC) which lost control of the municipality in 2016.

Maile over the weekend again denied that he and others had misused ARP money, but Mashaba said it was “bizarre” to suggest no corruption had taken place.

“Indeed, the MEC has bizarrely elected to make such a pronouncement whilst there are on-going investigations which are revealing concerning evidence of corruption which undermined efforts to bring development to the residents of Alexandra,” the mayor said in a statement.

“One can only see the MEC’s comments as a misguided attempt to cover-up the truth behind this corruption. The challenges faced by residents in Alexandra are substantial and the people of Alexandra deserve answers as to what became of the development which was promised by the ANC through the Alexandra Renewal Project.”

He said Johannesburg’s forensic investigation unit had received information that the ARP “served as a slush fund for the ANC, the city of Johannesburg under previous governments and the provincial government”.

Residents of Alexandra, one of Johannesburg’s poorest townships, have staged protests in recent weeks to show their anger over generally bad services.

– African News Agency (ANA)