City of Joburg responds to JRA CEO allegations

14th November 2022

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online


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City of Johannesburg Transport MMC Councillor Funzi Ngobeni says he has noted reports in news publication Daily Maverick, which question the suitability of Tshepo Mahanuke to hold the role of CEO of the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA).

“I assure the six-million residents of the City of Johannesburg, the executive mayor, Councillor Mpho Phalatse, the multi-party government as well as employees of the city and the JRA, that I take the allegations contained in the news article seriously.

“These allegations have the potential to sully the good work done thus far to bring stability to an organisation that, in recent times, has not lived up to the responsibility for which it was created,” Ngobeni states.

Also commenting, Phalatse said she had also taken note of the allegations that Mahanuke misrepresented himself during the recruitment process to appoint a CEO for the JRA.

“We take these allegations very seriously,” she emphasised, noting that she had asked Ngobeni and JRA chairperson Thabo Motloung for a full report on the matter.

“We will keep the public informed of any decision and steps taken on the matter. This matter must be addressed urgently and with full integrity,” asserted Phalatse.

Ngobeni explained that, in February, work to stabilise the JRA began with a process to recruit heads of department of infrastructure development and public relations and stakeholder engagement, as well as key middle-management vacancies at depot level.

“Crucial though, was the vacancy for a CEO – for which Mr Mahanuke applied and was ultimately deemed to be the successful candidate.

“While there are challenges, we have begun to see a turnaround in the ability of the JRA to respond to queries from residents. What is clear is that due to our ageing infrastructure, the JRA and other entities of the City are required to attend to frequent service requests. Nonetheless, we remain committed to delivering equitable service delivery,” he stated.

He said that, in light of this, he was “disappointed” in the impression created of Mahanuke, arising from the report.

“Mr Mahanuke has been portrayed as an individual who embellished his CV, to raise his favourability for the position of CEO of the JRA. The information at our disposal, which was verified and informed the board’s decision to appoint Mr Mahanuke, was the following qualifications: National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering (Vaal University of Technology) and BTech in Operations Management (Vaal University of Technology).

“The minimum requirements for the post, as advertised, were a Bachelor Degree in Operational Management or business or engineering or relevant NQF Level 7 equivalent,” outlined Ngobeni.

“From the onset, Mr Mahanuke declared in his CV that the Doctorate that has caused much consternation in the public sphere was in fact an honorary degree. In fact, the CV submitted by Mr Mahanuke, as part of his application for the position, clearly distinguishes earned qualifications from those bestowed upon him. It is these qualifications that were considered,” he added.

“I accept that there are conventions governing the use of a title arising from an honorary degree that may have been broken and caused concern but equally, I accept that Mr Mahanuke neither wilfully mislead myself or the board in any way nor pretended to possess qualifications he did not earn,” he asserted.

Ngobeni said any honorary degree Mahanuke has carried no weight in the decision to appoint him as CEO.

He added that no evidence has been presented that Mahanuke offered any inducements in return for an honorary award.

“The JRA board has promised to undertake an independent verification process to test Mr Mahanuke’s bonafides, in light of the public’s concerns arising from media reports. I welcome this decision.

“It is important to restore confidence in the work that we do and the decisions we take. Any further action should be informed by the outcomes of this board process,” Ngobeni said.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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