Ex-Nelson Mandela Bay IPTS boss Mhleli Tshamase must be charged for corruption

JULY 24, 2015

The Nelson Mandela Bay Ratepayers Association (NMBRA) and AfriForum PE are not satisfied with the resignation on Tuesday of then Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) boss, Mhleli Tshamase, and want him charged for corruption.  

“We achieved one of our goals with his suspension - and he knew that we got so much proof of corruption on him that he rather prevented himself from facing a disciplinary hearing that he decided to resign,” said NMBRA Chairperson and AfriForum PE Vice Chairperson, Kobus Gerber, in an interview with RNews.

“Our second objective will be to get him charged for corruption and all his belongings be seized.”

Tshamase tendered his resignation when he, and other senior officials at City Hall, were facing suspensions ahead of disciplinary action (and possibly the boot) for misconduct.

Much of the charges against Tshamase and the other officials relate to how the Metro's IPTS project ended up becoming its biggest scandal to date. Launched over seven years ago, the bus system has gobbled up more than R1 billion in funding yet is still not up and running.

Its articulated buses remain parked in storage in Motherwell and were only seen on the roads during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It is alleged that, while stagnant, the system became a cash cow for companies that were appointed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to build the IPTS infrastructure, draw up business plans and contracts, and manage the system’s logistics.

Gerber, who has, for the past few years, been among the loudest voices calling for investigations and charges to be laid against Nelson Mandle Bay Municipality officials involved in the IPTS scandal, says he has been vindicated by Tshamase’s resignation.

“We managed to get the [Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs] Pravin Gordhan to send a task team down to deal with all corrupt officials, contractors and you will see over the next few weeks more than 25 officials suspended and charged with contractors,” he said.

“The fact that they used our corruption report, and others, to charge and suspend officials is a clear indication that I was correct.”

Gerber said that he hoped everyone implicated in the IPTS corruption scandal will be charged and monies lost recovered so as to bring this chapter to a close.

“All corrupt officials have to be suspended, charged with all contractors involved with them and all their assets seized and sold to recover all tax-payers monies [that were] mismanaged, stolen and wasted. We want to see clean governance,” he described.

“We are coming for all corrupt officials to charge and seize your assets and we want all officials and contractors to collect their keys from us - their keys to the St Albans jail cells.”

'Tshamase must answer before he goes'

Meanwhile, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality councillors are reportedly seeking to have Tshamase answer to the allegations against him before he is let go.

His resignation had meant that the municipality would not be able to proceed with the disciplinary hearing against him.

However, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality spokesman, Mthubanzi Mniki, told The Herald that the city could still proceed with the investigation and pursue legal processes against Tshamase if there was evidence to “lead us to that direction”.