Tshwane impasse over GladAfrica shows up weaknesses in coalition politics

2019-06-15 17:37
Moeketsi Mosola, former municipal manager of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, former mayor, and Derrick Kissoonduth, council member for community safety. Photo: Seugnet van Zyl

Moeketsi Mosola, former municipal manager of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, former mayor, and Derrick Kissoonduth, council member for community safety. Photo: Seugnet van Zyl

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The ongoing impasse over Tshwane city manager Moeketsi Mosola and the GladAfrica controversy is a disappointing end to what looked like a promising period of coalition politics three years ago.

The battle over Mosola and his role in the GladAfrica scandal has been going on for nearly two years, and has become a touchstone for hostilities between the DA and EFF.

Pushed for, defended and ultimately overseen by Mosola, the large project management contract spanned most of the city’s capital expenditure and essentially outsourced much of the management of its infrastructure programme.

The Auditor-General, two legal opinions, and an investigation by lawfirm Bowmans all found that the appointment of GladAfrica was irregular. While there is no evidence of corruption, there are questions about why proper procedures weren’t followed.

After two attempts by former mayor Solly Msimanga to suspend Mosola from council failed without the support of either the EFF or the ANC, council agreed on February 28 to refer the matter to the Audit Performance Committee (APC). It will now decide whether or not to refer it to the Financial Disciplinary Board (FDB). The FDB is comprised of senior managers and some external people.

Mayoral spokesperson Norman Mohale told News24 that this process is what the Municipal Systems Act demands. It is also what Mosola has argued all this time: he says the GladAfrica problem is a financial misconduct issue, and can only be probed by the FDB, and not an outside investigator with a wide mandate.

Msimanga had argued that the allegations might be broader than that, hence the need for an independent investigation.

Now that the municipality has decided to go the FDB route, it is in legally safe territory with the added benefit of not having to fight Mosola on a procedural point.

News24 understands that some DA officials do not want to try to suspend Mosola for a third time, because the party does not have the numbers in council, and it cannot rely on its erstwhile cooperation partner, the EFF, for support.

Four months later, the issue still drags on.

New mayor Stevens Mokgalapa promised to sort out GladAfrica in a week when he took office in February. (Msimanga had resigned after another attempt to suspend Mosola failed in council, to run as the DA’s Gauteng premier candidate.)

If the matter reaches the FDB, which it probably will, such an investigation is not a bad thing. But only half of the FDB will be external investigators, and the others will report to Mosola. It is also not guaranteed that Mosola will be investigated at all.

While Mohale did not want to be drawn on what the terms of reference will be, News24 understands that it is an investigation into the GladAfrica contract as a whole, and Mosola is just one of many people who might be investigated.

Promises

When the DA and the EFF entered into their “cooperation agreement” in 2016, there was hope that breaking the ANC’s hegemony would bring accountability to Tshwane. The agreement was never formalised in writing – something some DA officials now regret – but the parties promised to work together to form a majority in council, in the best interests of the City.

Tshwane had been scarred by procurement scandals during the previous administration. It wasn’t long before the non-coalition would face its biggest test: the GladAfrica contract.

It should have been a slam-dunk for the DA and EFF. As soon as the allegations came to light, Mosola could have been suspended pending an independent investigation. This would have either cleared him of wrongdoing, or not, and put the issue to bed immediately.

But the EFF and ANC opposed this, ostensibly on procedural grounds. Mosola had attempts to suspend and investigate him temporarily overturned in the Labour Court last year, and the issue is still unresolved.

Relations between the parties, especially the DA and EFF, have soured considerably. There is little hope of cooperation now, and the EFF even did not want to support the DA’s budget earlier this year. (It passed with support from the ANC and the other, smaller coalition partners.)

Any hopes of holding the city manager personally responsible for this mess are, at best, premature. And the cooperation agreement between the DA and EFF looks as if it is worth less than the paper on which it should have been written.

Read more on:    da  |  gladafrica  |  eff  |  moeketsi mosola  |  solly msimanga  |  tshwane  |  coalition government
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.