Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga File picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga File picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA

Solly Msimanga will be wondering where it all went so horribly wrong

By Kennedy Mudzuli Time of article published Aug 27, 2018

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Pretoria - When it rains it pours indeed, and Tshwane Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga must be wondering when exactly the ark he built and so proudly guarded over the past two years started leaking horribly during the current thunderstorms.

After battling storm after storm in recent weeks, Msimanga faces a motion of no confidence, tabled by the ANC and the EFF, following the imminent suspension of Dr Moeketsi Mosola as municipal manager over alleged tender irregularities.

But it started with the Marietha Aucamp scandal - she fell on her sword soon afterwards - and her lack of qualifications for the position of chief of staff in Msimanga’s office.

Next in line regarding qualifications was the mayor’s executive head Stefan de Villiers.

Then followed the news that Mosola flouted regulations in appointing GladAfrica to cover infrastructure roll-out in the metro. While still patching up that leak, Msimanga had to deal with another matter: head of emergency services Previn Govender, too, was exposed for not having the required qualifications.

Mosola was left with egg on his face regarding the Govender issue.

Having said he verified his qualifications with the SA Qualifications Authority, the institution denied this and said it had no records of the official; neither did it have a verification agreement with Tshwane.

The EFF said Msimanga was micromanaged by his white DA colleagues who imposed underqualified and overpaid senior executives on the City. When exposed by black management, they went for purging.

Party leader Julius Malema said the kingmaker of the 2016 polls which saw Msimanga ascend to power had not been informed of the decision to suspend Mosola.

He said Msimanga sat alongside Mosola and declared there had been no tender irregularities, but then moved swiftly to suspend the city manager over a matter that he knew well.

According to Malema, Mosola was being victimised for exposing the Aucamp matter. The same issue was repeated by the EFF caucus in council.

Bear in mind that the findings of a probe into this matter is still pending. Nonetheless, the EFF says nothing about the investigation and opts instead to defend Mosola, whose innocence is yet to be proven.

For a party that advocates for zero corruption, you would think the EFF would want that investigation to be completed and then act on the findings. Moreover, it would wait for the outcome of the probe before picking sides; after all, logic dictates that Msimanga cannot just institute an investigation if he was convinced that regulations were followed..

But all Malema said was that if Mosola was guilty, due process should follow. According to him, Msimanga should pay the price too as the irregularities would have been committed under his watch.

The GladAfrica matter appears to be a hot potato for Malema for one reason or another. It is unclear if the EFF commander-in-chief really cares about infrastructure roll-out in the metro and good governance, but takes exception to the suspension of Mosola “by a white-managed Msimanga”, or has other interests.

Also, the EFF may just be fond of Mosola, who it says is being punished for exposing the Tshwane DA favourite, Aucamp. However, whether Mosola is as innocent as Malema suggests, remains to be proven. Msimanga would never have taken such a drastic step if he didn’t know what he was doing.

It is a tough week ahead for Msimanga, who despite expressing that he would walk away gladly if the motion succeeds, will be wondering where exactly everything went so horribly wrong when he seemed to be in total control of Tshwane House.

To stay in power, Msimanga’s DA needs the support of the EFF.

On the other hand, the ANC requires the red berets or other minority parties on its side too to outvote Msimanga and the DA. In this regard, it has called for a secret ballot. However, bear in mind that the DA is in coalition with several smaller parties in council.

The EFF caucus, Malema says, will give votes to a party that puts forward a credible candidate as mayor; otherwise it will abstain from voting.

Will Msimanga live to fight another day? Will ANC caucus leader Mapiti Matsena become mayor? Will the ANC send a new candidate or elevate new regional chairperson Dr Kgosi Maepa to council as mayor?

Will the motions against Msimanga make it to the council agenda at all? Or is Tshwane heading for fresh elections, which is what the ANC wants?

Sit back and enjoy the drama as politics unfold in the Sammy Marks council chamber this Thursday.

* Mudzuli is Pretoria News assistant editor. He writes in personal capacity.

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