ANALYSIS: Is this the end of GladAfrica?

2019-07-31 18:30
Moeketsi Mosola. (Cornel van Heerden, Foto24)

Moeketsi Mosola. (Cornel van Heerden, Foto24)

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Tshwane Mayor Stephens Mokgalapa promised to get rid of the GladAfrica scandal upon assuming office in February, and the news was duly welcomed. But it is doubtful that this is quite the way people expected him to do it.

Having signed off on the GladAfrica contract, pushed for it and ultimately being responsible for it, city manager Moeketsi Mosola will walk away from the job this week with his name effectively cleared.

The separation agreement means that the only meaningful investigation into the contract thus far - conducted by law firm Bowmans - will be buried. He will earn his monthly salary of about R200 000 a month for the remainder of his contract - until February 2022, according to a separation agreement between Mosola and the municipality.

The agreement has not yet been signed as of Tuesday, but News24 was told it was unlikely to change in any material way from the form that was approved by a closed-door meeting of council last Thursday. The "mutual" agreement was reached to stabilise the municipality, according to the document.

Mosola will be paid a "lump sum" this week of his total cost-to-company salary for the rest of his contract, minus statutory deductions. This will also be adjusted upwards as the municipality was recently declared a category 10 municipality, which means that in terms of its statutory rating, it can pay staff more money. Senior managers got a salary increase. The total package he is expected to leave with is around R7m.

The terms of the separation agreement state the City will "unconditionally and irrevocably nullify and set aside" the Bowmans report. 

The report will also never be published, used, or even referred to by the municipality, ever again, as per the agreement.

That report, commissioned by former mayor Solly Msimanga in September 2018, was only issued in draft format. The investigation was never completed because Mosola successfully interdicted the tabling of the draft report in council pending a review of the legality of the investigation. 

That case, heard in the Labour Court, was never finalised because Mosola and the municipality entered into negotiations to find ways to settle out of court.

The Bowmans draft report found the procurement process was dogged by irregularities. It did not recommend disciplinary or criminal proceedings against individuals "at this stage", but it recommended that the City must go ahead with commissioning a final report that would, inter alia, identify the people responsible for the irregular procurement. That will now be impossible, thanks to the separation agreement.

Then there is the City's internal investigation, as promised by Mokgalapa. He said its audit performance committee (APC) would investigate GladAfrica and recommend whether another internal body, the financial disciplinary board, should investigate further. 

It is not clear what will happen to that investigation now that Mosola is gone. News24 asked mayoral spokesperson Omogolo Taunyane whether it would continue and whether Mosola and his role in the GladAfrica saga would still form part of it. At first, she said the mayor's office would comment once a recommendation by the APC had been made.

She did not respond when pressed for clarity about whether the probe would include Mosola.

The DA's governance head, James Selfe, said he had been assured the city manager could be held accountable through this investigation if it found against him. 

And then there is the Hawks investigation. The DA's regional chairperson, Abel Tau, laid a complaint with the Hawks in November 2018. A few more staff members from the municipality, including political and administrative officials, gave additional statements to them. 

Tau told News24 he had received no feedback, although a case number was issued. One of the other complainants, former MMC for corporate and shared services Cilliers Brink, said he had also not received any feedback and would be following it up. 

Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi told News24 the investigation was still at an early stage, and a number of complaints had been laid which would eventually be rolled into a single investigation. 

He said no arrests have been made yet and the case was being investigated by the Hawks' anti-corruption task team. 

Until there is movement on that front, it is safe to say that, indeed, Mokgalapa got rid of GladAfrica.

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Read more on:    gladafrica  |  moeketsi mosola  |  stephens mokgalapa  |  tshwane

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