Helen Botes and Imraan Bhamjee
By BO Staff Writer
The protest by SAMWU (South African Municipal Workers Union) during which it disrupted a three hour mayoral committee meeting last week and demanded that the investigation into corruption be stopped against Helen Botes, the chief executive officer (CEO) and Imraan Bhamjee, the chief financial officer (CFO) of the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) – in itself amounts to a defence of corruption. Instead of acting in the interests of workers and the people of Joburg in general to root out corruption, it is on a mission to retain corrupt managers in their posts.
Botes and Bhamjee are currently under investigation for corruption to the tune of about R19 million in that they allegedly awarded Covid-19 cleaning, sanitizing and fogging contracts that entailed highly inflated costs for services to four suppliers that had no previous experience. Also, in certain instances, Botes is said to have negotiated prices that were far in excess of the original quotations she had been given by the suppliers. As reported, “Triple SL Tech (for instance) was paid R80 200 to sanitise just 200m2 – a space no larger than a suburban house – in Jeppestown. This works out to R401 per square metre”.
Evidently within a short period of time after the national lockdown took effect on 26 March this year, JPC had spent millions on cleaning, sanitizing and fogging the premises of numerous municipal owned properties under the guise of curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
An internal audit investigation by the City has reportedly already found that JPC’s management had contravened various procurement prescripts including supply chain management (SCM) laws and regulations; and the CoJ had been excessively overcharged. To this end it is reported that costs for similar services range “from less than R2 per square metre to no more than R10”.
Corrupt officials must be brought to book for their wrongdoings. The City must be allowed to investigate the conduct of Botes and Bhamjee and take the necessary actions against them.
SAMWU, it seems, wants to hide the fact that the people’s money has been stolen by the corruption of the CEO and CFO of JPC.