Johannesburg - Joburg mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse is said to be on the warpath and it is alleged she intends to remove certain individuals who are perceived to be on her way.
According to sources in the city, Phalatse has allegedly come up with a hit list that includes members of her party and senior managers in key positions. The sources added that the resignation of the executive director in the city manager’s office, Mesuli Mlandu, was the beginning.
Mlandu in his resignation said the decision followed the concealment of a report he submitted to the speaker of council Vasco Da Gama in June. But the sources said he was pushed out.
"He is the first casualty of the mayor's hit list. He was pushed out and more people are going to follow suit," said a source speaking on condition of anonymity.
The list includes five Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMCs) and at least 12 managers of various entities under the city. The MMCs are:
In terms of managers, Mike Moriarty leads the list of those who must vacate. He is Phalatse's chief of staff.
"He is regarded as a threat to Phalatse as he is perceived to wield more power in the Democratic Alliance and has direct access to the party's leadership. The mayor feels undermined and as though she is just a ceremonial appointee," said another source.
It is also alleged that other managers on the list include:
The sources said the list of managers needing to be removed indicated that the Phalatse-led coalition was on the hunt to purge the city of employees perceived to be related to the ANC.
They added that MMC for economic development, Nkuli Mbundu was being used as an attack dog against those employees while he gets protection from Phalatse.
“Action SA MMC is the mayor's pet and the DA lead coalition government covers up for MMC in manufacturing reports against employees and executives to rule the nest. MMC lies, again and again, but the mayor does not suspend him, unlike other employees she continuously defends Mbundu even though there are calls for his head. He lies blatantly to the board about relationships not knowing board members; however we have found that he currently has a pre-existing relationship with the board chair who is used to cancel deals within MTC,” said the source.
Mbundu has been hogging headlines in the past few months with numerous allegations levelled against him.
They include interference in the operations of the city’s entities and was recently in the news again for 'inflammatory statements' that incited violence against the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, its staff and informal traders in the city.
Seri had been involved in litigation for many years to protect the rights of informal traders and Mbundu's tweets came after the organisation represented the SA Informal Traders Forum (SAITF) in an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to reverse the illegal eviction of 600 informal traders from the De Villiers trading precinct, situated in De Villiers, Plein, Twist, Joubert, Eloff and King George streets.
The court ruled in favour of the SAITF, allowing the traders to return to their stalls. Mbundu then took to Twitter and tweeted: “We’ve been served with a court interdict. They used locals to what appears to be a front to lodge the application which was successful in court. We are law-abiding and will conform. When you find DeVilliers invading tomorrow morning, know who did it (sic).”
He included a letter with the contact details and address of the organisation. SERI had to close its offices due to security reasons after they allegedly started receiving threats.
The Department of Justice and Correctional Services said it had noted with concern the "flagrant and complete disdain" with which Mbundu had treated the non-profit human rights organisation.
Phalatse's spokesperson Mabine Seabe denied the existence of the hit list and said anyone claiming it exists wants to distract her from what she needs to do in the city.
"The Executive Mayor, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, does not have a purported hitlist. This fabricated list only seeks to distract the work of the Mayor and Multi-Party Government - the important job of repairing and rebuilding Johannesburg, the economic hub of the country and Africa," he said.
Seabe added that the Johannesburg Multi-Party Government was strong and was focused on completing a five-year term that "will truly transform Johannesburg."
With regards to feeling threatened by Moriarty and wanting him out, he said there was no such thing.
“Executive mayor, Mpho Phalatse, is one of the most confident, assertive and smartest people I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside, therefore to suggest that she can be or feel undermined is laughable.
“Equally, chief of staff Mike Moriarty is a valued aide and adviser to the executive mayor and the members of the mayoral committee,” he said.