DA and PA in spat over Cilliers’s roles in the City of Johannesburg

Charles Cilliers, the co-founder of the Patriotic Alliance (PA). Picture: Facebook

Charles Cilliers, the co-founder of the Patriotic Alliance (PA). Picture: Facebook

Published Aug 14, 2023


Durban — Two opposition political parties in the City of Joburg were at loggerheads on Monday over the roles played by Charles Cilliers.

Cilliers is the co-founder of the Patriotic Alliance (PA). On Sunday, DA councillor Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku alleged senior members of the PA were unlawfully occupying high-paying positions in the City of Joburg, costing taxpayers millions per year.

The DA claimed Cilliers unlawfully held two roles in the City of Joburg – director: executive support to the Member of the Executive Council (MMC) for Human Settlements, and chairperson of the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA).

Collectively in these positions, Cilliers earns about R1.2 million per year – salaries paid for by the taxpayers of Johannesburg, said Kayser-Echeozonjoku.

The DA claimed the director of the Metropolitan Trading Company (MTC) in the City of Joburg was Thedi Darrius Moropa, a member of the PA listed as the fifth candidate on the PA regional North West election list in 2019.

“It is particularly significant that the Roads Agency as well as the MTC reside in the Department of Transportation, of which the PA’s Kenny Kunene is the MMC,” said Kayser-Echeozonjoku

Kayser-Echeozonjoku said that a month ago, through manoeuvring by the PA, the Johannesburg Council voted to reposition the MTC under the Transport Department. Kayser-Echeozonjoku described this as a calculated move to pave the way for further cadre deployment (a new CEO is set to be paid R1.6m per year), as well as corruption and looting.

“The housing of an IT company under Transport is nothing short of sinister. The DA is ready to take action and has initiated a public protector complaint against Cilliers for his unlawful employment in the City of Johannesburg. We will not stand by while the PA undermines the very fabric of our democracy and exploits positions of power for their personal and political gain,” Kayser-Echeozonjoku said.

She said Cilliers was in direct violation of section 71B of the Municipal Systems Act, and the DA condemned the PA’s manipulation of power for its own gain.

“It is blatant cadre deployment that underscores the PA’s complete disregard for the principles of good governance. Their actions are a slap in the face to the citizens of Johannesburg, who deserve transparent and accountable leadership. These PA cadres who have been illegally deployed must pay back the money thieved from the people of Johannesburg,” Kayser-Echeozonjoku said.

However, the PA’s national spokesperson, Steve Motale, said the DA incorrectly alleged Cilliers simultaneously occupied the position of board chair at the JRA.

“Had they bothered to do any fact checking, they would have known that he resigned as the JRA chair in May prior to accepting a role as the director: executive support in the office of the MMC for Human Settlements in Johannesburg,” said Motale.

The PA argued Cilliers’s role in the City of Joburg was in a political office and Cilliers was appointed into the same role for the MMC of Health and Social Development in the same city in a coalition with the DA when the DA’s mayor Mpho Phalatse was in charge.

“Her chief of staff, Mike Moriarty, signed off on Mr Cilliers’s appointment at that time, knowing precisely who he is and what his background is. Moriarty was himself a senior DA leader who had been deployed into a political role as the chief of staff after serving various roles in the DA, including in the legislature,” said Motale.

According the to the PA, during that time, Cilliers had played a central role in negotiating the very same coalition with the DA.

Motale said that Cilliers had never been the PA’s chairperson, but carries the title of head of strategy and negotiations in the party. Cilliers is not a member of the party’s top 6, though serves on the PA’s extended national executive committee. Motale said none of this is a secret, and none of this is sinister.

The PA said Cilliers was a highly qualified and experienced manager, with five degrees, two of them at Master’s level, one being a Master of Arts, the other an MBA.

Cilliers is considering his legal options, including laying a charge of crimen injuria at the SAPS against the DA and the leaders who sanctioned the press release.

“He may also pursue a possible civil charge of defamation. Cilliers has stolen from no one and committed no act of corruption and if indeed a public protector case has been opened, he simply asks that a quick investigation be done and concluded,” Motale said.

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