Pretoria - Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga on Thursday night confirmed he had accepted the resignation of the embattled chief of staff in his office, Marietha Aucamp.
Msimanga said Aucamp had been asked to resign. “I wish to state that I accept her resignation and will inform the office of the City manager to whom the chief of staff reports so as to observe all due process in this regard,” Msimanga said.
“We note that following the revelations that have come to the fore, the prima facie evidence before us and the controversy surrounding the matter, as the executive mayor, I had no option but to ask her to resign.
"We want to wish her well in all her future endeavours.”
Aucamp had been placed on special leave on Wednesday following revelations that she did not have adequate qualifications for the chief of staff job. Msimanga was alleged to have been instrumental in her appointment.
Early on Thursday, documents revealed to journalists by the ANC in Tshwane showed that Msimanga, as part of the panel that recommended Aucamp for the position, had given her a score of 23 after the interview two years ago.
The other panellists, MMC for Corporate and Shared Services Cilliers Brink and former acting city manager Lindiwe Kwele, scored her 24 and 17 respectively.
E-mails, assessment documents and a CV indicated that Msimanga sat on the panel that interviewed Aucamp for the position. The Pretoria News was not able to independently verify the legitimacy of the documents.
Further, in what is referred to as the assessment centre, a personal information sheet dated October 10, 2016, stated that Aucamp had matric and a BTech qualification.
However, in her CV, Aucamp did not state her qualification; she merely mentioned that she was acting chief of staff in Msimanga's office. She was also chief whip of the DA in the Tshwane metro. Her references include one of the DA's federal chairperson James Selfe.
Also among the documents was a letter from February 2018 in which municipal manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola demanded that Aucamp submit her academic qualifications.
The advert for the job, which the Pretoria News has seen, required that the candidate held a bachelor's degree or similar qualification. If a candidate did not meet the requirements, the Local Government Act required municipalities to apply for a waiver from the Ministry of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. According to the ANC, the City administration did not make such an application.
Municipal spokesperson Selby Bokaba said Msimanga had instituted an investigation into the matter.
On Wednesday, Msimanga put his head on the block and said: “If I am found in any way to have flouted any of the rules I will resign as the executive mayor.”
Aucamp also has a new battle on her hands after the ANC in the city on Thursday opened a case of fraud against her.
Lesego Makhubela, the official opposition's caucus spokesperson and councillor, said Aucamp had to pay for her fraudulent action. He also called on Msimanga to resign with immediate effect for “assisting in her appointment”.
“By employing incompetent people to serve nefarious interests, this impacts badly on the provision of service delivery which explains why the city is in the state of paralysis,” said Makhubela.
He also called on Aucamp to pay back every cent paid into her account back to municipal coffers. A similar call had been made by the EFF in council.
In addition, ANC leader in council Mapiti Matsena urged Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane to urgently release her findings into the appointment of Aucamp. He said the official opposition made submissions regarding the appointment in 2016.
“While she (Mkhwebane) is taking time resolving this matter, Aucamp continues to draw a salary of R1.2 million and is directing the City into a state of paralysis and collapse,” Matsena said.
Aucamp is alleged to have landed the R1.2m a year position without the requisite qualifications after Msimanga became head of the DA-led coalition government following the 2016 polls.
Msimanga is alleged to have influenced the decision to appoint the erstwhile councillor.
In 2016, the ANC asked Mkhwebane to probe the appointment of Aucamp, claiming the City did not follow proper recruitment processes. According to the party, this rendered the appointment unlawful, and consequently any remuneration received by Aucamp was fraudulent and amounted to corruption.
“We raised the issue of the appointment of Aucamp in September 2016 When confronted with these allegations, Msimanga accused the ANC of creating a diversionary tactic,” Matsena said. “The appointment was done unlawfully and consequently any remuneration received by the incumbent was an act of fraud and corruption.”
Matsena said in reality, Aucamp was the mayor of the City and that explained why the DA went out of its way to break the law so that “she is located in the office of the mayor”.
“Aucamp is the actual mayor of the City and is babysitting Msimanga and directing the City from the background,” said Matsena.