South Africa: Is the City of Johannesburg Broke? – South African News Briefs – January 29, 2023

 

Is the City of Johannesburg Broke?

The City of Johannesburg is facing financial turmoil, marked by allegations of non-payment, budget “rebase,” and threats to cut off electricity, reports News24. A leaked memo revealed a proposed budget adjustment of R8.7 billion for the 2023/24 fiscal year, and the city’s revenue collection fell significantly below the norm at 75%. The centralization of billing, as per a leaked document from City Power, has purportedly led to poor performance, debt, and low collection rates. The document also claims that Eskom threatened to disconnect the city due to late payments. City Power is reported to be R10 billion in debt, facing a potential backlog of R40 billion in three years. The city is reviewing the document for accuracy while addressing challenges in its billing system. Despite reports of grounded vehicles, the city denies any impact on service delivery. The financial crisis raises concerns about the city’s ability to pay suppliers, staff, and contractors, prompting the need for a thorough investigation.

Meyiwa Brother Disputes Hitman Claims, Defends Kelly’s Innocence

Senzo Meyiwa’s brother, Sifiso Meyiwa, has cast doubt on the murder investigation and accused the lead investigator, Brigadier Bongani Gininda, of lying and corruption, reports IOL. This comes after Gininda testified that two accused killers implicated singer Kelly Khumalo, Senzo’s girlfriend, in ordering the hit. Sifiso, with over 20 years of police experience, claimed the murder scene did not resemble professional hitman work.  Sifiso maintains Kelly’s innocence and believes Gininda fabricated the confessions to protect himself. He also questions the professionalism of the hit and accuses the state of colluding with Gininda to obstruct justice. Despite not believing Kelly’s involvement, Sifiso urges her to come clean, and vows to pursue justice until the true perpetrator is caught. The trial of the five accused men continues today.

Deputy President in Luxury Home Hot Seat Again

Deputy President Paul Mashatile is reported to have acquired a lavish Cape Town property worth R28.9 million, a seven-bedroom mansion in Constantia, reports News24. Similar to his R37 million home in Waterfall, Johannesburg, the property was purchased by his son-in-law, Nceba Nonkwelo, through Bilcosat, later renamed Duntaw Guest House. Within three months, Nonkwelo funded properties totaling R65.9 million for Mashatile’s benefit, despite owing R7 million to the Gauteng Partnership Fund for a failed social housing project. Nonkwelo’s wealth source remains unclear. News24 investigations reveal a patronage network linked to Mashatile, prompting an appearance before the ANC’s integrity commission. Although Mashatile’s spokesperson denies his use of the Cape Town house, a Presidential Protection Service detail suggests otherwise. Nonkwelo claims the property will be used as a guest house but does not deny occasional use by Mashatile. The property boasts seven bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms, a cottage, a wine cellar, a cinema, and a pool. These revelations come amid scrutiny of Mashatile’s use of other luxury homes owned by individuals with public contracts.

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