Mayor Herman Mashaba’s investigation into alleged corruption involving the city’s R1bn smart electricity meter tender is just petty politics, businessman Vivian Reddy said.
Reddy is the owner of Edison Power which was awarded the billion rand tender to install smart meters throughout the municipality. The contract has been probed four times in the past by two senior counsels, auditing firm Ernst & Young as well as the Public Protector’s office.
“I question the motive, why go and waste taxpayers’ money to look into something that’s already been cleared?” asked Reddy.
Last week, chairperson of City Power Frank Chikane confirmed that the board was asked to submit documents from the contract, along with a few others for a probe. City Power managing director Sicelo Xulu is also under investigation.
Mashaba clashed with former environment and infrastructure member of mayoral committee Anthony Still and fired him over the investigation.
Claims of a personal vendetta
He supported the investigation, but did not agree with Mashaba on suspending Xulu without following legal processes.
Reddy said Edison Power’s smart meters were hailed as a success.
“The smart meters increased the City of Joburg’s revenue collection by over R1bn as acknowledged by [former mayor] Parks Tau,” Reddy
He said he believed Mashaba’s investigation was sparked by their past interactions during the construction of Sibaya Casino in Durban.
The businessman, who is said to have close ties to President Jacob Zuma, said he hoped Mashaba’s investigation was not about settling personal business vendettas dating to a time before Mashaba became mayor.
“He tried to get a job in an unethical manner from me in the past, I think he is still pissed off,” said Reddy.
Mashaba dismissed the claims. He told said the two have never done business together.
“It must be in his dreams,” said Mashaba.
‘There is nothing to find’
But Reddy insisted the mayor was lying.
“He came to Durban and met with me in his capacity as a representative of a big construction company and made the offer,” Reddy said.
Mashaba said a person who has not erred has nothing to worry about.
“I don’t know why people feel worried, if they have done nothing wrong then there is nothing to worry about,” said the Joburg mayor.
Mashaba said he didn’t want to be complicit in the previous administration’s wrongdoings.
“[To] anyone expecting me to trust reports of the previous administration, I am not going to do that, especially when I keep receiving new evidence,” he said.
Mashaba said nothing would stop his investigation from going ahead.
“They must accept and understand that this investigation will happen, I am not saying they will be found guilty, but no one is going to stop this investigation,” he said.
Reddy maintained that Mashaba would find nothing in his probe and said that claims of “new evidence” were just a smokescreen.
“There is nothing to find, I will not lose a second of sleep over the investigation,” Reddy said.