FRAUD & CORRUPTION PROBE
Cape Town mayor fires Malusi Booi from mayoral committee after update from SAPS
A week after police raided human settlements Mayco member Malusi Booi’s City of Cape Town offices in the Civic Centre and seized electronic equipment and documents, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has fired him from the Mayoral Committee.
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has fired the mayoral committee (Mayco) member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, with immediate effect, following his initial suspension on 16 March.
Hill-Lewis said Booi’s removal from Mayco followed an updated briefing from the South African Police Service (SAPS) on progress in the investigation into a fraud and corruption case.
Last week, Booi was placed on suspension by the mayor after the police’s Commercial Crimes Investigation Unit seized electronic equipment and documents from the city’s Department of Human Settlements in the Civic Centre.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Cape Town Mayco member Malusi Booi suspended after police raid
Booi has not yet been formally charged.
“I have received an updated briefing from the SAPS regarding their investigation, and on this basis, have decided to remove councillor Malusi Booi from his position on the mayoral committee with immediate effect,” said Hill-Lewis.
“While councillor Booi has not been charged, the matters under investigation are, to my mind, serious enough to warrant immediate action to protect the integrity of our government. I have further assured the SAPS of the city’s full support in the ongoing investigation. The city has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption and I will not hesitate to act in the interests of good governance.”
Charges ‘will be laid on Friday’
Sources close to the case said charges would be formally laid on Friday against a “city” official.
Council speaker Felicity Purchase had earlier told Daily Maverick that if charges were brought against any councillor in the employ of the City of Cape Town — while they might be suspended or have stepped down from any additionally held positions (such as membership of the mayoral committee) — they continued to be councillors.
“As such, councillor Booi remains a councillor… and will continue to receive the salary linked to PR [proportional representation] councillors… [but] Booi will no longer receive the salary of a Mayco member following his suspension from Mayco by the executive mayor on 16 March 2023, as per the executive mayor’s prerogative.”
James Vos will continue as the acting Mayco member for human settlements until a replacement is announced.
The police did not share details on the update they gave the mayor which led to the decision to fire Booi. Police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut earlier said the police raid was part of an investigation into fraud and corruption.
Booi joins councillor Zahid Badroodien in being removed from Hill-Lewis’s Mayco. Badroodien stepped down from his Mayco position after it emerged that he allegedly tampered with his electrical meter box.
DA provincial leader Tertuis Simmers said the party respected the steps taken by the mayor of Cape Town to protect the integrity of the city and the DA.
“We have convened an urgent meeting of the provincial executive of the DA to discuss the possible suspension of councillor Booi pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.”
Extortion at housing projects
Booi’s suspension comes amid an increase in extortion by gangs, which is holding back housing projects in Cape Town — while the security budget has been topped up by R15-million to protect construction sites.
Hill-Lewis told the Western Cape Standing Committee on Human Settlements on 27 January that extortion and unlawful occupation or forceful community disruption of housing in 12 of the City of Cape Town’s housing projects was affecting about 4,500 beneficiaries of state-subsidised housing.
A R1-million reward has been issued for information leading to the arrest of the gunmen who killed city official Wendy Kloppers in Delft on 16 February.
Kloppers was shot at the Symphony Way Housing Project construction site, earmarked for 3,300 of the city’s most vulnerable residents. The reward increased from R100,000 after a donation from an anonymous businessman.
Daily Maverick last week reported that a company previously flagged over 28s gang suspicions is still building houses for the Western Cape government.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Company previously flagged over ‘28s gang’ suspicions still building houses for Western Cape government
The director of Glomix House Brokers is Nicole Johnson, wife of suspected 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield. The company has, for more than a decade, been involved in housing projects in Cape Town worth millions of rands.
We were unable to reach Booi for comment and he has not made a public appearance nor posted on his social media since the police raid. DM