DA councillor in leasing scandal

Date: 25 Feb 2019

A DA bigwig in the Johannesburg council has maintained his hands are clean, despite being accused of maladministration by an internal investigation that looked into a leasing scandal.

Alex Christians, the chair of chairpersons in the council and ward councillor for Mayfair, Fordsburg and Pageview, has been referred to his party’s federal legal commission.

This structure conducts disciplinary proceedings against the DA’s senior members.

Yesterday, Mike Moriarty, the party’s Gauteng chairperson, said Christians was being subjected to the disciplinary structure after findings against him in the probe by the City of Joburg’s Group Forensic and Investigation Services.

The investigation services found that Christians irregularly facilitated leasing of the Mayfair Bowling Club and sports facility to a private company.

Now running a private school on the property, the company allegedly bribed Christians to help it lease the facility without following correct procedures.

Moriarty said: “It is alleged that Christians used his influence as a councillor to have the usage of the Mayfair Bowling Club, by an organisation known as Task Academy, regularised. This was in spite of a proposal by the Johannesburg Development Agency to use the property for public benefit.”

Last week, the ANC secretary in Joburg, Dada Morero, alleged that Christians had bullied officials to benefit a private firm. “The obvious question is: Why? In return for what, if not the bribes, did he violate council procedures?”

Morero placed this alleged kickback at R800 000, but, according to reports, the investigation services did not find that Christians received such an amount.

Christians told The Star yesterday he was confident he would successfully defend himself at the DA’s federal legal commission.

He said he was also preparing to face off with the council’s ethics committee. “I’m actually welcoming (the disciplinary steps) so I can put this to rest and clear my name. I know I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve not done what this report claims, and that’s why I’m looking forward to clearing my name.”

Christians would not be drawn into what details in the report he specifically disputed. “I was interviewed (by the Group Forensic and Investigation Services), but I have not had sight of the final report. I’ve also been advised that the council speaker has now sent this to the ethics committee as well. So, in terms of the rules of council, I actually cannot comment on that report.”

By BONGANI NKOSI bongani.nkosi@inl.co.za @BonganiNkosi87

For more info see: http://www.iol.co.za/the-star