JOHANNESBURG, June 10 (ANA)
City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has assured residents that the city faces no financial distress nor is it in need of a bailout, and intends to lay a complaint against City Press newspaper for allegedly violating the press code of conduct.
"This morning I note, with disappointment and surprise, an unsubstantiated report in the City Press alleging that the City of Johannesburg is both 'cash-strapped' and 'heading for a bailout'. Nothing could be further from the truth," Mashaba said.
"The article makes a number of incorrect claims which only serve to manufacture panic regarding the city's financial position. Worst still, these inaccuracies were specifically addressed with City Press prior to the publication of the article. However, the publication has inexplicably elected to spread these claims.
"I would like to reassure our residents that the city faces no financial distress nor is the city in need of a bailout. The City Press's chosen headline is grossly misleading and irresponsible," Mashaba said.
The city's cash management report, as required by section 71 of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), which had been approved by the mayoral committee and was on its way to council, clearly stipulated that the city's cash remained in a healthy state at over R3.2 billion.
City Press had "deliberately sought to misrepresent this as R1.2 billion in order to forward their chosen narrative". Further to this, the city continued to meet its salary commitments. At no point had there been any risk of the city not being able to do so, either presently or in the future. This too was addressed with the publication.
"In omitting this from their reporting, the publication has acted irresponsibly and created unnecessary panic among city employees. Our multi-party coalition government makes no apology for seeking to reverse the legacy of corruption left by the ANC.
"Over the years, there has been significant mismanagement of the city's finances by past administrations. These inefficiencies have weighted heavily on the financial health of the city. This is the history of mismanagement which our administration has been seized with reversing," Mashaba said.
"While I have incredible faith in the media's role in protecting the public interest and ensuring that those who exercise public power are held to account; however, this requires that the media perform this role in a fair, accurate, and balanced manner. I believe that the present article falls short of this standard and represents a violation of the press code [of conduct]. As such, the city will be laying a complaint with the press ombudsman regarding this City Press publication," Mashaba said. , editing by Jacques Keet
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