Mayor Solly Msimanga said he was warned against tabling a report entailing allegations of irregularities related to a multi-billion rand tender awarded to an engineering company called GladAfrica. Msimanga has come under siege from some people, who threatened to remove him from his position by passing a motion of no confidence against him.
The report in question implicated the city manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola, who Msimanga had proposed be suspended for allegedly flouting supply chain management policies during the awarding of a tender to GladAfrica. Msimanga said threats against him were made on the eve of a council sitting at Sammy Marks Council Chamber, where he was expected to table the report.
He spoke to journalists on the sidelines of the chaotic council sitting about threats to oust him from office. The meeting on Wednesday degenerated into chaos when both the ANC and EFF councillors threatened to remove the acting city manager Lorette Tredoux, who is the city’s group support officer.
They questioned how Tredoux was installed into the position without their knowledge, demanding proof to that effect. In response, Msimanga produced a letter from the city manager’s office dated August 22, which stated that Tredoux could act in the position in the absence of the city manager.
Councillors also went after the head of legal services Marna Kock, accusing him of being conflicted in the matter involving Mosola. They demanded that Kock must leave the meeting and he vacated the council chamber after he was threatened with physical removal.
During an interview with journalists, Msimanga revealed that he was not perturbed by the kind of threats he received in the form of a letter. “I received a very interesting letter last night of the intention of a motion of no confidence in me.
“This is at the same when I was told don’t table this report today (Wednesday). (But) I said that I am pushing (for the tabling of the report) because the name of the city and the party I represent is taking a huge beating,” he said.
Msimanga also questioned the motive behind such a veiled threat. “Why do I receive a report that says if you won’t withdraw the report there is a motion of no confidence coming against you?
“If there is a motion of no confidence coming I will still stand on principle; the motion can be served. If I am removed I will go into the public with pride and with my head held up high and say I didn’t stand for wrongdoing. I didn’t protect wrongdoing. More importantly, I haven’t been bullied,” Msimanga said.
The meeting was constantly punctuated with delays emanating from disagreements among councillors on whether the report should be dealt with in the absence of the media and public members or not.
Both the ANC and EFF councillors were in support of the proposal to deal with the report in full glare of the media and members of the public, citing that the matter was well-known and it was in the public interest.
The proposal from the ANC and EFF councillors was however met with rejection from council speaker Katlego Mathebe, Msimanga and some DA councillors. Those against the proposal held the view that the move to discuss the matter in public would be illegal.
Mathebe said in terms of the applicable legislation a matter involving official facing allegations of financial transgression must be dealt with in-committee, excluding the media and public members.