Pretoria - Executive mayor Stevens Mokgalapa is aware of media reports circulating about a letter allegedly written to the Presidency by employees, his spokesperson Omogolo Taunyane said yesterday.
“The mayor’s office hasn’t received the alleged letter, neither has it received any communication from the Presidency pertaining to the letter,” Taunyane added.
In the letter, which the Pretoria News has seen, the workers asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to help turn the fortunes of the metro around.
The letter, which was also copied to MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Lebogang Maile, attributed the series of misfortunes at Tshwane House to outgoing city manager Moeketsi Mosola.
It is a slap in the face for the DA-led coalition government, which has had to douse several fires in recent months.
During the past two weeks, the City was rocked by a paralysing strike by municipal workers, which ended after it struck a deal with the workers to grant them a once-off payment, depending on their ranking.
Last month, council had agreed to part ways Mosola by July 31, but his stay was extended by another month, with the metro citing incomplete elements of the separation agreement.
Then there was the wording of the statement which announced the about-turn; it stated that Mosola’s special leave had been extended - the city manager had in actual fact been on sick leave.
Another matter involved the approval of chief operations officer James Murphy’s name as acting city manager, which the mayor wanted rescinded, citing the fact that Murphy had been accused of wrongdoing in a report by the auditor-general.
However, the report has since been found to be erroneous, with the City’s internal investigation confirming that Murphy played no role in the distribution of money to NPOs a few ago.
The workers wrote that former executive mayor Solly Msimanga tried to hold the city manager accountable by suspending him over a litany of transgressions, but his efforts were thwarted by politicians.
They referred to “transgressions of supply chain management processes with a clear intention to loot the resources of the City” and gave the cancelled GladAfrica contract as an example.
The workers questioned the role of ANC in the matter, saying the party “issued a statement a few days after the scandal was published in August 2018 calling for the sacking of the city manager”.
“The ANC in Tshwane region then took over communication on the matter and reiterated the call of the province for the removal of Mosola over the GladAfrica scandal. On the day Mosola was expected to be suspended, the ANC caucus in the Tshwane made a surprise U-turn and defended Mosola.
“Mosola is yet to be held accountable for the GladAfrica scandal and for the plethora of transgressions he has been involved in certain ANC councillors went to the extent of describing him as black excellence, despite having called for Mosola’s head a few weeks earlier.”
The workers claimed that Mokgalapa was protecting Mosola because he feared the EFF may remove him if he acted against him. They expressed unhappiness with the procurement of the communications, marketing and events tender as well as a fuel contract saying Mosola signed it while he was on leave and having delegated all powers to Murphy to act on his behalf.
According to them, Mosola had also embarked on a project to purge senior City officials, whom he suspected to be whistle-blowers, by suspending them and refusing to appoint and extend the employment contracts of others.
Other matters raised included the China C40 trip, which Mosola illegally approved pretending to be Mokgalapa. They pointed out that the mayor described the action as “erroneous” and implied that he was leaping to the defence of the city manager.
Another matter was the use of the same PR agency by Mosola and Mokgalapa, despite having a fully-fledged communications department.
The workers referred to alleged illegal appointments in the mayor’s office, and Mosola’s R2.4 million legal fees in his fight with Msimanga over the GladAfrica report. “All these matter point the fact that Mosola is effectively the city manager and facto mayor.”