Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba announced on Wednesday, that he removed the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Economic Development, Sharon Peetz, on grounds of suspected misconduct.
The alleged misconduct relates to an investigation into whether Peetz acted “irregularly” in arranging for a family member to accompany her on an official trip to Spain.
In a statement late on Wednesday night, he said the allegation was levelled against Peetz earlier this year, during a council meeting.
“Through a forensic investigation conducted at the time, it was determined that the City had not incurred any costs for the travel of the family member. It was therefore determined that the allegations levelled against the Cllr Peetz at the time were without merit,” Mashaba said.
“Recent evidence has been brought to our attention that the proof of payment, between Cllr Peetz and the Travel Agent, which the councillor had provided to my office as proof that she had paid the travel agent, was allegedly falsified.”
Mashaba said that further forensic investigation had been undertaken into the proof of payment.
“It is stressed that the money concerned remains allegedly owed to the Travel Agent, and it remains the case that the City has not incurred any losses. Through her actions, it is my belief that Cllr Peetz has misled myself, the Council and the residents of Johannesburg,” Mashaba said.
“I have made it clear that, under my leadership, the City of Johannesburg will not tolerate such conduct any longer. Irrespective of one’s role in the City, and irrespective of your political affiliation, there will be accountability for wrongdoing.”
The Federal Executive of the Democratic Alliance has agreed to this move and that Peetz would be referred to the party for consideration of further disciplinary processes in order to “determine her culpability”, Mashaba said.
He said that he would hold City of Johannesburg officials accountable.
“Unfortunately this has not yet removed the dishonesty that drives the actions of some individuals. It does however mean that wherever it is found, action will be taken and our residents will be informed and treated with the respect that they deserve.”
Mashaba said that a “decision is carefully considered” for a new MMC, and said that health and social development MMC Dr Mpho Phalatse has agreed to act in the position.