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Stripping of my powers an attempt to muzzle me, says City of Joburg corruption buster Shadrack Sibiya

13 April 2022 - 19:11 By Tankiso Makhetha and Graeme Hosken
Corruption buster Shadrack Sibiya says the City of Joburg's municipal manager, Floyd Brink stripped him of his powers because he was investigating him.
Corruption buster Shadrack Sibiya says the City of Joburg's municipal manager, Floyd Brink stripped him of his powers because he was investigating him.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

The gloves are off between City of Johannesburg corruption buster Gen Shadrack Sibiya and the city's acting municipal manager Floyd Brink.

This as Sibiya claims that Brink overplayed his hand in sending him a letter informing him that his investigation powers have been revoked, apparently because he does not have the necessary security clearances.

Speaking exclusively to TimesLIVE, Sibiya rubbished the notice to revoke his investigation responsibilities issued to him on Monday after the municipality received a report highlighting his lack of security clearance.

Instead, Sibiya fired a salvo claiming that Brink’s move to temporarily strip him of some of his powers was driven by the fact that Brink and officials in his office were subject to an investigation.

“We as the Group Forensics and Investigation Services (GFIS) have received serious allegations of a situation where they signed beyond their power of delegation,” said Sibiya.

“Remember that I keep on getting a lot of information as well, where he signed things that are far beyond his power of delegation. He will sign something of more than R200,000 — something that needs to be signed by the mayor or council, but he will sign,” said Sibiya.

“As (head of) GFIS, I am not really here to protect anyone. I am here to fight corruption or maladministration. This is exactly what I am doing. I am not going to withhold information simply because I am trying to push someone to be appointed in any particular position.”

In the letter sent to Sibiya on Monday, Brink informed him that while a determination is being considered, he needs to submit “the original copy of the top-secret security clearance certificate which you ought to have applied for and received from the State Security Agency (SSA)”.

He said that Sibiya must bring to his office the formal authorisation from the SSA which entitled him to procure and deploy intelligence gathering equipment within the jurisdiction of the City of Johannesburg.

TimesLIVE has seen a second letter sent by Brink to Sibiya on Tuesday, informing him that his functions have not been interfered with. He said what was required was that the signing and approval of decisions and documents would have to be exercised under Brink's authority.

I introduced vetting to the city and I am the one who vetted all the executives, all the senior officials. Everyone has been vetted by this office, including me.
General Shadrack Sibiya, Head of CoJ's anti-corruption unit 

In the Tuesday letter, Brink rejected Sibiya’s claims that his withdrawal of delegations was set off by investigations into him and officials in his office.

“Our response to such claims is that your purported investigation reports and their unsubstantiated findings on any section 56 employees would always be unlawful if you have not been authorised by the municipal council and may even create a legal crisis for the municipality,” said Brink. 

A section 56 employee occupies a high managerial/executive position in the municipality.

Sibiya responded by saying that Brink occupied the acting role of municipal manager from February 11 2021 without having a security clearance certificate.

“He is talking about vetting — that I do not have security clearance. Ask him when did he get his? He got it just before the interview but all along he has been operating without it,” said Sibiya. 

“I introduced vetting to the city and I am the one who vetted all the executives, all the senior officials. Everyone has been vetted by this office, including me.

“In my case, I also submitted (an application) just like any other person and went through the process just like any other person and I am awaiting mine. I have also completed the vetting. In fact, the SSA promised that I will get it today,” Sibiya said on Tuesday. 

TimesLIVE has seen a copy of Sibiya’s security clearance certificate which he obtained later on Tuesday. It was issued a day after TimesLIVE reported he was occupying his position without one. 

Sibiya said an important question that needed to be asked was about Brink and a person who was operating in his office who was not vetted, but who chairs some of the most important meetings in the office and who deals with sensitive information.

MMC for group corporate and shared services, councillor Leah Knott on Wednesday said despite Sibiya having the certificate, a hold has been placed on investigations he had been conducting.

“And that this has affected recruitment processes as GFIS is tasked with vetting city personnel,” said Knott. Knott also confirmed that Sibiya produced a certificate and that they were aware of the Covid-19 related delays faced by the SSA which led to the delays in issuing the certificate.

Asked what responsibilities the city management have to ensure that Sibiya had the necessary security clearances before taking up his position, Knott said: “City management would need to ensure that the requisite recruitment criteria is fulfilled, and to follow up in the case of missing elements.”

Despite this, Knott said Sibiya is not facing a disciplinary hearing at the moment.

City of Johannesburg spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane said they would allow all internal processes to be concluded before sharing information with the public.

“We, therefore, request that you wait for the tabling (to council) of the report, which contains all the details you are enquiring about,” said Modingoane.

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