Pretoria - Solly Msimanga will resign as mayor of Tshwane should he be found to have flouted rules in the appointment of his embattled chief of staff Marietha Aucamp, he said on Wednesday.
A former DA chief whip in council, Aucamp was placed on special leave on Wednesday following allegations that she did not have adequate qualifications for the chief of staff job. Msimanga is also alleged to have been instrumental in her appointment.
Msimanga said an investigation would be undertaken into the processes that led to Aucamp’s appointment. “If there was a flaw, the investigation will tell us what it was,” he said.
“If I am found in any way to have flouted any of the rules I will resign from this position as the executive mayor.”
Asked about Aucamp’s highest qualifications, he said: “I can’t even give you that now because it is something that I have to go to HR and find out from them what was submitted and what is happening.”
The ANC and EFF in council have called on Aucamp to pay back the money she had received from the municipality since her employment began.
ANC leader Mapiti Matsena said his party was the first to raise the matter regarding Aucamp’s appointment two years ago.
Matsena said she was initially appointed as the chief of staff on a contract basis. “We made an issue at the time and we indicated that her appointment was irregular and that she didn’t have the necessary qualifications. We also took the issue to the public protector,” he said.
Matsena said the ANC had been vindicated by the recent developments. “She does not even have experience as a senior manager. When they were campaigning they campaigned on the ticket that they will root out corruption. This is the indication that the DA misled the people of Tshwane,” he said.
He said that what Aucamp did was purely fraudulent and she must pay back the money she drew from the City during the time of her employment.
Earlier, EFF members stormed into Tshwane House boardroom where a high-level meeting chaired by Msimanga was taking place.
They demanded the axing of Aucamp, who was employed in the office of the mayor in 2016 with an annual salary package of R1.2million.
The “fighters” entered uninvited into the meeting attended by MMCs and senior officials. They banged on the tables and repeatedly shouted “Marietha must go, Marietha must go”.
EFF party leader in the council Benjamin Disoloane said their action was long overdue as Msimanga had failed to reply to their inquiry regarding Aucamp’s education. He alleged that Aucamp had neither a matric, nor post-matric qualifications.
Disoloane said: “Marietha must pay back the money with immediate effect. Hiring people without skills will not work under the municipality of the EFF.”
He called for all people implicated in the appointment to face the music. “We also call on the executive mayor to immediately remove MMC for Corporate and Shared Services Cilliers Brink as his department is the one involved in these shenanigans, and he sat on the interview panel.”
He said the EFF vehemently rejected the decision to place Aucamp on special leave.
EFF councillor Moaferika Mabogoane said: “Marietha is not supposed to be in this municipality. Marietha must go and be a cashier at Shoprite and be part of thousands of black sisters and brothers with no qualification. She must be a cashier at a retail store.”
However, Msimanga accused EFF councillors of playing to the media. “If you wanted answers like you normally do, you would have written to me and asked, and I would have responded to you.”
Msimanga asked for the meeting to be adjourned for 30 minutes to allow interaction between himself and the EFF councillors.
City spokesperson Selby Bokaba said: “Aucamp applied and was shortlisted for the vacant position of chief of staff in October 2016 and was selected as the most suitable candidate for appointment.
“She came out highest in the panel members’ scores. The panel members consisted of the executive mayor, MMC for Corporate and Shared Services (Cilliers Brink) and former acting city manager Ms Lindiwe Kwele.”
He said that after the interviewing process, Aucamp was sent for a Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs supervised assessment for senior managers in November 2016.
“Information has since surfaced in the media purporting to show that Aucamp indicated in the assessment form that she was in possession of a BTech degree.
“Neither in her application form for the position nor in her CV did she state that she was in possession of any post-matric qualification. It sounds illogical and irrational for any applicant who was shortlisted, interviewed and scored highest in the interview, as well as in the assessment to claim to possess qualifications she didn’t have,” he said.
Bokaba said Msimanga had requested City manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola to conduct an urgent investigation into the matter.
“As former chief whip, Aucamp has the managerial experience of 16 years,” he said.