Mashaba: 'military veterans' companies scored broadband deal'

25 September 2017 - 15:00 By Timeslive
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.
Image: Sunday Times

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says that a preliminary probe into the purchase of a R1.3-billion fibre broadband network benefited companies linked to senior members of the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association.

Mashaba asked on Monday why the MKMVA had called on its members to “intensify” the “struggle to reclaim power” in the City of Johannesburg and was so interested in a recently tabled motion of no confidence against himself and the speaker of council.

“I can only surmise that the reason behind the interest is to protect the ANC’s patronage networks which previously allowed them to loot state coffers for their benefit‚” he said in a statement on Monday.

The city will soon be handed a report based on an independent forensic investigation into the “previous administration’s decision to purchase a 900 km fibre broadband network at a cost of R1.3-billion. “Preliminary findings of the report indicate that a number of high profile individuals associated with the ANC have been linked to the City’s decision to purchase the fibre network.

“Specifically‚ it would appear that two senior members of the MKMVA held an interest in the companies benefiting from the purchase of the broadband network‚ benefiting almost R200-million. Why was this permitted‚” he asked?

He hinted that military veterans were‚ according to the preliminary findings‚ deeply involved in the tender process around the deal.

The city‚ in 2015‚ decided to acquire the fibre network and establish a Municipal Owned Entity (MOE) to run the network despite having no viable business plan nor the capacity to run a broadband operation of that size‚ he added. The aim of the Johannesburg Broadband Network Project was to provide access to broadband services which would improve service delivery‚ save costs for the city and provide communities and businesses across Johannesburg with more affordable internet access.

“Despite the astronomical cost‚ few of these benefits have been realised necessitating a thorough investigation of the decision‚” he said.