Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane accepted housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi's letter of resignation on Wednesday.
“Upon receipt of the letter of resignation, taking into account the due processes that unfolded, the premier decided to accept the resignation,” her spokesman Xoli Mngambi said in a statement.
Infrastructure development MEC Bheki Nkosi was appointed with immediate effect to manage the Gauteng local development and housing department in the interim.
“The premier wishes to acknowledge the contribution Mr Mmemezi has made in providing leadership in the sectors (in which) he was deployed and wish him well in his future endeavours,” Mngambi said.
Announcing his resignation on Wednesday, Mmemezi said it was the right thing to do, even though he had paid back the personal purchases made on the credit card.
This was verified by provincial housing spokesman Motsamai Motlhaolwa.
“These purchases were an error of judgement on my part, for 1/8which 3/8 I take full responsibility and would want to apologise profusely to the people of Gauteng,” Mmemezi said.
He denied other allegations against him and said he would take legal action regarding these.
The Congress of the People welcomed Mmemezi's apology and his “not unexpected” resignation.
Gauteng caucus leader Ndzipho Kalipa said: “It should be noted that by resigning and agreeing to pay back... all the money used for inappropriate personal expenditure, he accepted that his judgement was a bit tainted when he lavishly swiped the government credit card.”
The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng welcomed Mmemezi's resignation.
“It took 50 days of media exposure of his questionable actions before he resigned, after vigorously protesting his complete innocence,” said Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng caucus leader.
“We do not believe that he has come clean on all his misdeeds, and he should not be let off the hook just because he has resigned after pressure,” said Bloom.
The DA doubted that he had fully refunded his personal purchases on his government credit card before it came into the public domain, as Mmemezi claimed in the statement announcing his resignation.
“We suspect that the refund only happened after DA MPL Fred Nel asked official questions in the legislature about his credit card spending.”
Questions remained about his accident in KwaZulu-Natal that led to his damaged official vehicle being auctioned at a loss to the state and a proper investigation was also needed into the serious allegations made about him when he worked at the Mogale City municipality, the DA said.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said his resignation should set a precedent for others.
“We note that Comrade Mmemezi strenuously denies some of the allegations, but has conceded that others, particularly those relating to the misuse of the credit card, are valid,” said Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven.
“He is therefore to be congratulated on his honourable decision to resign and to refund government for the improper expenditure.”
Craven said it was unacceptable for public representatives to continue holding positions in the government while facing investigation or criminal prosecution, and even mobilise demonstrations of support outside the courts where they were standing trial.
Craven said Mmemezi's defence relating to his understanding of the use of the card supported Cosatu's call for a review of the Ministerial Handbook. It needed to unambiguously spell out rules for the use of public money. - Sapa