"I unashamedly support the Field Band Foundation (FBF) in my personal capacity," Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said in response to accusations by the African National Congress (ANC) in the city that he had "illegally entered the procurement space".
In a statement released on Tuesday morning, the Johannesburg branch of the ANC accused the Democratic Alliance (DA) mayor of issuing payments of more than R11-million to his favourite NGO to provide services to the municipality.
"Mashaba initiated funding for the FBF, without any written proposal sent to the City by the foundation... The FBF is a well-established NGO with support from the private sector, and boasts a budget of R22-million per annum, yet Mashaba has the audacity to initiate funding of over R11-million from the ratepayers' money to fund the FBF," said ANC councillor Nonceba Molwele.
Molwele claimed that the payments of R3.5-million per year for three years would be rolled out to the FBF from the City's budget for youth programmes.
The ANC also said that the municipality had committed the grant of R11.1-million for the FBF project even before the foundation could submit a proposal for such funding.
"After the February 2017 mayoral committee meeting, MMC for Health and Social Development Mpho Phalatse wrote a letter to then MMC for finance Rabelani Dagada, requesting three-year funding for FBF, despite the fact that there had been no proposal or request for funding from the FBF at the time."
'I don't understand who they want us to support'
Mashaba has, however, denied these allegations, saying the ANC is grasping at straws. While he did not deny that he had suggested the NGO to the City, he told News24 that the City had followed the correct procurement processes.
"When social development were looking for charities, I told them about it and I said, 'Guys, go and look and see if the City can participate.'
"They were won over. I wanted us in every region, so that we have projects that assist in terms of saving the lives of children. I feel the ANC is unashamed and, yes, I still have a relationship in my personal capacity as a funder. I don't understand who they want us to support. The ANC acts like this was discussed in corners. It was discussed in the budget council lekgotla."
FBF is in charge of the City's drug abuse awareness campaigns.
"Mayor Mashaba used his power and influence to coerce the City of Johannesburg to give the FBF a grant... FBF does not have experience in running an anti-drug abuse campaign."
'I will not stop'
Mashaba hit back, saying the ANC had "run out of ideas" in its attempts to disrupt his work.
"The media must be careful in furthering an ANC agenda. My only association with the NGO is through my companies. My families will continue to support them and we will continue as long as my family is able personally to support these children. I will not stop," Mashaba added.
Over the weekend, the ANC in the Tshwane region raised its concerns about the DA-led municipality there. It accused the municipality of allowing internal party politics to hamper service delivery in the metro.
Tshwane ANC spokesperson Teboho Joala said that council speaker Katlego Mathebe and the DA-led administration were flouting governance processes in the municipality.
Joala said Mathebe had indefinitely postponed ward committee elections, without providing reasons for the postponement, despite having spent at least R4-million on the election process.
He said the ward committees were constitutional structures, created through the Municipal Structures Act of 1998. Joala further stated that the ward committees served critical functions, such as facilitating public participation and helping in the development of by-laws and policy formulations.
The DA in Tshwane was not readily available for comment.