ANC takes City of Tshwane to court over 'unlawful' council sitting

2019-09-19 08:43
Moeketsi Mosola. (Cornel van Heerden, Foto24, file)

Moeketsi Mosola. (Cornel van Heerden, Foto24, file)

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The ANC in Tshwane has accused the Tshwane council of passing resolutions relating to the payout of former city manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola and the appointment of an acting city manager, despite a majority dissenting vote.

The party has asked the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to set aside the council sitting that passed the resolutions on August 29.

In court papers, which News 24 has seen, it contended that the council sitting was invalid and unlawful and as a result, the resolutions passed during the sitting should be declared unlawful and set aside.

No majority

"The executive mayor and speaker allowed for the resolutions to be taken without the majority agreeing," Tshwane ANC chairperson Dr Kgosi Maepa said in the papers.

Maepa specifically referred to two resolutions passed and adopted during the sitting: Mosola's payout - an undisclosed amount following the separation agreement between him and the City - and the appointment of Lorette Tredoux as the acting city manager.

According to the court papers, the ANC's 89 councillors, the EFF's 25 and one PAC councillor registered dissenting votes.

READ | EXCLUSIVE: Discipline me if I've done anything wrong - Tshwane COO calls mayor's bluff

"[The] majority of 115 councillors [out of a possible 214] voted against the resolution and it is self-evident that the meeting did not quorate."

For a resolution to pass in the council, there must be a simple majority of 50% plus one, the ANC submitted.

"In the instance of the meeting of 29 August 2019, there was no simple majority in [the] council meeting, which is the quorum required to take resolutions and for the meeting to proceed."

"It is a clear illegality in that the executive mayor acted unilaterally to pay an undisclosed amount of money, without a resolution determining an amount to be paid to the city manager by council."

The ANC is also of the opinion that Tredoux's appointment is unlawful because a previous council sitting resolved to appoint the City's chief operating officer James Murphy in the position.

Mosola's separation agreement and the appointment of James Murphy  

Issues surrounding Mosola's exit and the appointment of a new acting city manager arose earlier this year after the council decided to part ways with Mosola, who has been implicated in the GladAfrica tender scandal.

Mosola was supposed to end his tenure with the municipality on July 31. This was agreed to by way of a council resolution on July 25.

However, Mosoloa did not sign the agreement at the last minute. Instead, appointed one of his deputies, Tredoux, to act in his place on July 31.

Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa then extended this deadline to August 31 without council approval. Mosola only resigned on August 30.

The council adopted a resolution on July 25 in terms of which Murphy was to be appointed as acting city manager when Mosola left at the end of July. A day later, however, Mokgalapa did an about-turn, after a report into his conduct was brought to attention of the mayor. The same report has been in the municipality's possession since December 2018.

News24 previously reported that the report Mokgalapa used to rescind Murphy's appointment at a special council sitting on August 20 was controversial and hotly disputed.

READ | EXCLUSIVE: Tshwane mayor used hotly contested report in botched attempt to block acting city manager appointment

The forensic report, which is contained in an auditor general report, purports to implicate Murphy in the misallocation of funds to NGOs three years ago.

But the City's internal audit department said it was flawed and rejected it, saying it cleared Murphy of any wrongdoing.

The August 20 sitting was held behind closed doors and Mokgalapa's efforts to prevent Murphy's appointment was blocked by the ANC.

No decision could be reached and the issue is expected to be discussed at the next council sitting, News24 understands.

Frivolous court action 

Mayoral spokesperson Omogolo Taunyane told News24 that the court action was not only frivolous, but illegal "as [the] speaker communicate[a] mandatory council sitting in order to conduct its business".

"Obviously, the ANC is desperate to discredit the mayor and gain public sympathy," Taunyane said. 

"Council will sit as scheduled on 26 September without any disruptions." 

The court case is expected to be heard on October 1.

Read more on:    anc  |  pretoria  |  politics
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