South Africa: Mayoral committee member’s office is latest stop for bus investigators

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Investigators homed in on Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for transport‚ Brett Herron‚ on Thursday.

Bowman Gilfillan attorneys requested access to Herron’s computers and e-mails. The firm has been appointed by the city council to investigate allegations of misconduct involving suspended Cape Town transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead.

Mayor Patricia de Lille has also been implicated in the saga‚ which involves allegations of misspent millions‚ tender irregularities and theft approaching R40-million. All the allegations revolve around the MyCiTi bus rapid transport system.

In a statement‚ Herron said that in the interests of a thorough investigation into Whitehead‚[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“I fully support this review of the computer data in my office and to that end I am co-operating fully with the request from Bowman Gilfillan”.

He insisted that his offices were not “raided”‚ adding:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“It was‚ in fact‚ a polite request to allow Bowman Gilfillan auditors access to download data they consider may be relevant to their investigation.

“Clearly‚ as the political head of the department‚ Ms Whitehead and I exchanged numerous e-mail messages. I have nothing to hide from any investigation and I look forward to an end to this matter.

Herron joined Patricia De Lille’s Independent Democrats and by 2009‚ according to his online profile‚ he became a councillor. After the merger between the DA and ID‚ De Lille became mayor and in 2011 Herron was appointed as the mayoral committee member for transport.

In January‚ Whitehead was suspended by the city pending a disciplinary hearing. Last November Mike Evans‚ a partner at the law firm Webber Wentzel‚ sent a WhatsApp message to Herron to warn him about Whitehead.

The message said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“I’m concerned that you could suffer damage if you and your colleagues do not initiate very soon a full inquiry into MW‚ probably with a suspension.

“Things are starting to emerge and you and your colleagues run the risk of being dragged down with her if you do not act.

“The Sunday Times has gathered evidence against her which may run on Sunday. I have far more evidence of the fruitless and wasteful expenditure for which she’s been responsible running into literally millions of rand and for which she should be personally and criminally responsible. I am happy to present that to an inquiry.”

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