South Africa

Kunene and Lesufi in spat over repairing Johannesburg’s roads

Kenny Kunene 1

The City of Johannesburg’s MMC for Roads and Transport Kenny Kunene has appealed to Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi to stop interfering in the running of Johannesburg.

Kunene accuses Lesufi of meddling

In a media statement, Kunene said Lesufi was poking his nose where it does not belong by interfering in the day-to-day running of the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) and being in contact with the CEO of the JRA, Zweli Nyathi. He accused the Gauteng premier of trying to run Johannesburg from the provincial seat.

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“I have been closely observing the premier’s statements regarding the employment of individuals to address the issue of potholes in the City of Johannesburg. I am also concerned about the breach in protocol in terms of inter-governmental relations from the Office of the Premier. I am thus hugely perturbed that the said office directly contacted the Acting CEO of the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), Mr. Zweli Nyathi, to address the potholes in the city,” Kunene said.

According to Kunene, the JRA and the City of Johannesburg were responsible for roads in Johannesburg. He said the filling of potholes in the city and the rehabilitation of roads and bridges were part of the municipality’s responsibility.

“The JRA is the only agency authorised to grant way-leaves for access to our road infrastructure. Unfortunately, if anyone attempts to work on our roads without permission, we will have to enforce the bylaws as the city through the JMPD,” he said.

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Kunene said his department did not want to get involved in Lesufi’s Nasi Ispani initiatives because of reputational issues.

“While we appreciate any assistance in mitigating and fixing our roads, we do not wish to be part of the premier’s popularity stunt of mass employing individuals without the necessary skills and expertise to work on our infrastructure. We have witnessed the disaster that happened with the cleaners and wardens, and we do not want a repetition of that at the JRA,” he said.

Lesufi responds

When contacted by The Citizen, Lesufi denied that he had interfered with the governance of the City of Johannesburg. “I deny and refute that I’ve directly or indirectly spoken to the CEO of JRA, and I challenge the MMC to produce publicly that evidence.”