Rampant MyCiTi smart card theft exposed in legal report

The report by Bowman Gilfillan has revealed that city officials overlooked internal forensic reports highlighting the losses dating as far back as 2014.

FILE: The MyCiti bus service. Picture: City of Cape Town

CAPE TOWN - The extent of rampant theft from the Cape Town's MyCiTi smart card system has been exposed in a confidential city legal report.

The city s embattled Transport Commissioner Melissa Whitehead is now in the firing line for not properly managing the contracts of two external service providers.

The report by Bowman Gilfillan has revealed that city officials overlooked internal forensic reports highlighting the losses dating as far back as 2014.

The losses have provisionally been estimated at R43 million.

Investigators from PriceWaterhouseCoopers say it’s been difficult to quantify the exact extent of the losses suffered as a result of contract workers manipulating the fare system.

The city s forensic unit has since 2014 conducted at least three investigations into fruitless and wasteful expenditure, unreconciled amounts and unauthorised transactions.

In 2016, it recommended that Transport Commissioner Melissa Whitehead be investigated for failing to manage the fare system contracts.

But this recommendation was retracted in a final version of the report.

City manager Achmat Ebrahim also commissioned law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr to determine culpability.

In reviewing the draft reports, Bowman Gilfillan says there’s evidence of control weaknesses, and that the city has been exposed to substantial financial risk.