South Africa Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has denied assertions that he pressured the city to give a gift of over R11-million to a non-benefit association which he was already engaged with.
On Tuesday‚ the ANC in Johannesburg accused Mashaba of bringing in the Field Band Foundation (FBO) to provide services to the council for over R11-million.
FBO is an NGO that over the last 20 years provided over 70‚000 children from broken families and child-headed households opportunities of expression through the arts.
The opposition accused Mashaba of initiating funding for the FBF without any written proposal sent to the city by the foundation.
Mashaba was the chairperson of FBF before becoming mayor.
“The FBF is a well-established NGO with support from the private-sector‚ and boasts a budget of R22-million per annum‚ yet Mayor Mashaba has the audacity to initiate funding of over R11-million from the ratepayers’ money to fund the FBF‚” the ANC charged.
The ANC claims that during a mayoral meeting in February 2017‚ Mashaba “mooted” that the city roll out an anti-drugs abuse awareness campaign over a three-year period. He also allegedly announced at this meeting that the city would need to set aside R3.5-million per annum for the project while there had been no request for funding or a partnership between the city and FBF‚ the ANC claimed.
It added that the FBF allegedly only submitted a proposal to the city in June 2017. “After the February 2017 mayoral committee meeting‚ the MMC for health and social development‚ Ms Mpho Phalatse‚ wrote a letter to then MMC for finance‚ Mr Rabelani Dagada‚ requesting three-year funding for FBF despite the fact that there had been no proposal or request for funding from the FBF at the time.
As a result of the written request from MMC Phalatse‚ the City budgeted an amount of R3.5-million per year over a three year period for the funding of the youth programme to be rolled out by the FBF. The indicative budget for social funding within the Health and Social Development Department increased by R3.5-million in the 2017/2018 financial year‚” the ANC claimed.
It added that in March 2017‚ Phalatse allegedly convened a meeting with the FBF management team to inform them about the mayoral committee decision to fund the NGO. The NGO then allegedly undertook to submit a proposal to the city in line with the city’s offer for funding. In June 2017 the foundation then submitted a proposal for funding to the tune of R10.5-million.
“On the 20th September 2017 at the special mayoral committee meeting‚ the mayoral committee approved funding amounting to R 11.1-million ‘adjusted’ in respect of inflation over the life of the project to the Field Band Foundation. This was done despite the FBF submitting a proposal for R10.5-million over a three-year period‚” the ANC alleged.
Mashaba expressed his disappointment at the allegations made by the ANC.
“I am disappointed but unsurprised‚ by the latest baseless accusations made by the ANC this morning against myself with regard to the City’s support of the Field Band Foundation. In February last year the City held a discussion on its strategy to combat the scourge of drugs‚ a critical component of which is our support of NGOs who work in affected communities to provide young people a path away from drugs. During this engagement I suggested that Social Development look into the Field Band Foundation‚” Mashaba said.
He said the city’s social development department engaged FBF and received a proposal which was assessed and determined to be of value to the city. “Through the powers afforded to MMCs‚ a grant was approved and tabled in the Mayoral Committee.
While the ANC would have our residents believe that this was improper‚ it was done in the open in forums involving many city officials. It was formally recorded in a report to the Mayoral Committee – hardly the efforts of a government seeking to hide something‚” Mashaba said.
He added that a number of municipalities and the National Department of Arts and Culture support the FBF.
“My family has donated historically to this organisation‚ continuing to do so today‚ and I have chaired the NGO for many years. I do not seek to hide my involvement in the many worthy causes my family have been involved in supporting over the years. However I do not conflate the two‚ and the city continues to thoroughly assess any proposal through the correct legal processes‚” Mashaba said.