South Africa

Joburg Housing: ANC councillor arrested for illegal sale of a City-owned property while alleged building hijackers appear in court

By Nkateko Mabasa 17 January 2018

An ANC councillor and former MMC of Housing, Dan Bovu, was arrested and charged with fraud and theft at the Lenasia South Police station on Wednesday for allegedly selling property owned by the City of Johannesburg. By NKATEKO MABASA.

Dan Bovu, an ANC councillor and former Member of the Mayoral Committee for Housing in the City of Johannesburg, stands accused of fraudulently selling stands belonging to the City to desperate residents.

Dan Bovu served as Member of the Mayoral Committee for Housing under Parks Tau and currently serves as an ANC councillor and regional deputy secretary general in Johannesburg.

It is alleged that in 2006 a community member of the Vlakfontein area, south of Johannesburg, was looking for a stand. He allegedly met Bovu, who was then an ANC ward councillor and working for the Thembelihle Development Fund, which was assisting people to buy stands in that area.

The community member was allegedly given an account number by Bovu and instructed to deposit money for the stand in it. However, he later found out that the same stand was sold to another community member. The two men then decided to take the matter to court.

The NPA later decided not to prosecute as there was allegedly “insufficient evidence”. Then, when the coalition government between the DA and EFF entered into office in 2017, the matter rose again.

According to a statement released by the City, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba then petitioned the NPA to prosecute the accused councillor.

Mashaba lambasted the ANC for condoning corruption and furthering the deterioration of the city’s financial challenges. “For years, the ANC has shamelessly gorged itself on money that should have been directed to the city for improving service delivery and uplifting our people,” said Mashaba.

Following Bovu’s arrest, the ANC released a statement stating that Bovu had recused himself pending the outcome of the investigation.

We are of the view that Comrade Dan, like all South Africans, is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. We are happy that this matter is now finally before the courts in order to clear the air surrounding Comrade Dan Bovu’s alleged involvement in fraudulent activity,” the ANC said in a statement.

Bovu is expected to appear in court soon.

Earlier this week, Mashaba suspended MMC for Finance Rabelani Dagada on allegations of nepotism and for having a conflict of interest. Following this, the ANC claimed that Mashaba was doing all of this in an attempts to redirect blame for the City’s financial woes.

Mashaba has over recent months made housing and the rejuvenation of the inner city a priority. In the past two months, the Group Forensic and Investigation Unit (GFIU) has made several arrests of individuals who are believed to be kingpins of the hijacking of buildings in the inner city.

Jonathan Constable and his two accomplices were refused bail at the Johannesburg Magistrate Court on Wednesday. The trio, according to Lucky Sindane, Director of Strategic Stakeholder Management at GFIU, allegedly approached unsuspecting tenants residing around Joburg and introduced themselves as investigators, police officers or City officials.

They would then allegedly inform the tenants that the owners of the building were hijackers and should not pay rent to them but rather deposit it into their account.

Constable was arrested by the Johannesburg Metro Police during a raid on a city building.

This arrest comes a month after Sinethemba Mkhumbuzi, a former property manager, and his co-accused, Kenneth Ntila, a former attorney, were sentenced to 13 and eight years imprisonment respectively after they were found guilty of hijacking Angus Mansions in Jeppestown before selling it for R3-million in 2007 to the Trust for Urban Housing Finance.

GIFU reported that 11 hijacked building have been returned to their owners, and that a total of 164 buildings in the Johannesburg inner city are confirmed as hijacked.

Hijacked properties are a major challenge faced by the City but we are pleased with the progress we are making in addressing these challenges,” said Mashaba.

It is yet to be seen if Mashaba will win this long haul battle to revitalise the inner city and also strike a balance between the arduous task of urban development and of not kicking the poor out of the city as a result of high rentals in newly refurbished buildings. DM

File Photo: General view of buildings in the Central Business District of Johannesburg, March 3, 2010. REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly.

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