Update: Nelson Mandela Bay election

Truth will out.

The truth behind how the ANC funded its 2016 local government election in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is expected to be revealed in a report to be tabled before the Eastern Cape metro council this month.

This will be the culmination of a nearly two-year investigation (see nose216), that began shortly after the August 2016 local government elections in which the ANC lost control of the city to a DA-led coalition with Athol Trollip installed as mayor.

At the core of the investigation is the accusation that a company called Mohlaleng Media (Pty) Ltd, owned by Sandown-based businessman Mbuso Thabethe, became the de facto procurement wing of the previous ANC-led council, allowing officials to circumvent prescribed financial reporting requirements and, importantly, hide kick-backs and party political expenses while making the ratepayer pay for it all.

Danny Jordaan quantifies the scale of the racket he's alleged to have had a part in

Mid-level managers could find themselves in serious trouble, but it is more likely that the investigation will focus on what Danny Jordaan’s role was in this racket. Also facing possible sanction alongside Mohlaleng boss Thabethe are the likes of Grant Pascoe, a former DA Cape Town chairperson, now with the ANC, and former journalist Vukile Pokwana, both of whom were contracted to work in Jordaan’s office as political advisors and spin-doctors five months before the local government election.

They were also on hugely inflated salaries, netting a combined R771,552 in those five months.

Trollip told Noseweek that he will be instructing attorneys to draft charges against anyone deemed to have been involved in a scam.

“The fact is, this company was appointed to do certain things and there was a limitation to how much money could be spent on that contract. But the contract [terms changed] and the expenditure almost doubled over a four-month period from what had been spent over the previous 18-month period. This all happened to coincide with the municipal elections in 2016. That’s what drew my attention to this matter,” said Trollip.

In October 2014 the city awarded a three-year contract to Mohlaleng Media. They were provided with a spending cap of R10 million and were required to provide marketing and communication services. But near March 2016 the cap was lifted ostensibly because “more directorates wanted to make use of this service provider” and suddenly the company was ordering overalls, transport and meals. This free-for-all allowed the ANC to print paraphernalia, from posters to pamphlets, on the city’s account. By the time the contract stopped in September 2016, the bill stood at R20.6m.

“I’m determined to get that money back used to illegally promote a political party. The people we will be investigating will be masters of delaying and obfuscation as they’ve learnt from the best  [Jacob Zuma],” said Trollip.

He said even if he were removed from office in a vote of no confidence, he would make sure the criminal charges were laid and followed through.

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