Pretoria - Samkelo Mgobozi, who was fired by City Manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola, effective from March 1, described the termination of his employment as a witch-hunt of appointments made under former mayor Solly Msimanga.
“And he is doing so with consent of executive mayor Stevens Mokgalapa. There are appointments in the city manager's own office that he had not yet dealt with.
“This is with specific reference to Emergency Management Services chief Previn Govender, who allegedly lied about his qualifications. What is the city manager going to do there? I never misrepresented myself at any stage.”
Mgobozi said it was perplexing that he was being punished for the city manager’s fatally defective HR department. “At no point did I misrepresent myself or my qualifications. I applied for a job, his HR department shortlisted and approved it and I signed a letter of appointment on October 28 2016. The fault is with the City and not with me.“
Mosola’s own fate has been uncertain following the GladAfrica tender scandal, and he has in fact been saved by the indecision of the opposition parties.
In axing Mgobozi, Mosola said the auditor-general (AG) found his appointment to have been irregular and the payment of his salary constituting irregular expenditure. He further stated the City was seeking legal opinion on whether it was obliged to recover all the money paid to Mgobozi as salary.
But Mgobozi hit back: “I am unaware of any AG investigation into me or my appointment and as such I will be asking the city manager to produce this investigation. Has the executive mayor seen the record of decision and the alleged AG report to which the city manager refers or did he take his word without doing any of his due diligence?”
Last November, Mosola asked Mgobozi to cite reasons why he should not be fired, which he did. Mgobozi had been appointed two years ago to the position of executive head of mayoral public affairs and media relations.
In the letter, Mosola gave Mgobozi 10 days to furnish him with reasons why he should not be axed from his position.
Prior to that and soon after Marietha Aucamp had left her job as chief of staff in Msimanga's office for misrepresenting her qualifications, Mosola in August released a forensic report in which he revealed that Mgobozi didn’t meet the minimum requirements for the post.
The report also implicated the former executive head in the private office of the executive mayor, Stefan Adriaan de Villiers, hired with a matric certificate and another in body-building.
De Villiers was found to not meet the minimum academic requirements of possessing a bachelor's degree or equivalent. He too was fired alongside Mgobozi on Friday.
Inga Ndibongo, who was international affairs adviser for Msimanga, has been asked to provide reasons why she should not be dismissed.
At the time, Msimanga slammed the report, saying it deviated from the intention to conduct city-wide audits of all qualifications of top level city managers.
Mosola’s report found Mgobozi lacked at least 12 years experience, which was part of the requirements for the position. Five years of the 12 years were required to have been in a senior managerial position.
The senior appointment audit report showed that Mgobozi only had two years experience at the time of appointment. “A candidate will be considered suitably qualified for appointment based on one or a combination of different aspects including formal qualifications and recognition of prior learning,” wrote Mosola at the time.
He further said that in terms of staffing policy “the appointment requirements can only be waived in accordance with agreed criteria, or when allowed by national legislation and the waiver is subject to approval by the city manager and his or her nominee”.
Mosola said there was no evidence that “the city manager approved a waiver of the minimum requirements of experience for the position”.
He had never before mentioned the fact that the AG was investigating the matter.