I never misled council about suspending COO - Ekurhuleni mayor

2019-07-10 17:47
Ekhuruleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, with CFO Kagiso Lerutla and city manager Imogen Mashazi at a media briefing on chemical toilets and the city’s embattled COO. (Supplied)

Ekhuruleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, with CFO Kagiso Lerutla and city manager Imogen Mashazi at a media briefing on chemical toilets and the city’s embattled COO. (Supplied)

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City of Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina has dismissed claims he misled council in a bid to get the city's chief operations officer (COO), Lesiba Mojapelo, suspended.

Masina told journalists at a briefing in Germiston the decision to suspended Mojapelo was "unanimous" in council, based on a letter the City had received from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in March.

The letter contained a file titled "Investigation in terms of Proclamation No. R.63 of 2010 into certain affairs of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality: possible misconduct by an official or an employee". It was sent to the City after it requested clarity from the SIU regarding the charges Mojapelo was facing.

Masina said this led to Mojapelo's suspension on full pay.

In February, Masina clashed with the ANC's coalition partners as he fought to halt the suspension.

ALSO READ: 'I am totally innocent' - Under fire Ekurhuleni COO denies wrongdoing in parks project after report notes irregularities

He said this was before the SIU presented the new evidence.

Mojapelo was charged for using his position as the project manager of Ekurhuleni's 2010 World Cup Legacy Projects to ensure former business partners Thembinkosi "TK" Ncisa and Sibusiso "DJ Sbu" Leope won a tender without undergoing the tender process.

"We wish to advise the COO to appear before an independent DC process and to ventilate and defend himself on all charges levelled against him [rather] than going door to door to media houses painting the City as corrupt," said Masina.

Speaking about the 2010 report's delay, he added the initial response from the City was that it was still under investigation.

"We asked them [the SIU] why the matter was taking so long. They wrote back to say because he was not cooperating, the man they were investigating was not cooperating … so the matter has not been closed," said Masina.

Mojapelo previously told News24 he believed he was being targeted, claiming his issues were political.

Masina said the COO should have explained who he was behind such a campaign. He absolved his administration, saying it had opted to work with Mojapelo.

"Ask him who because our administration brought him here, personally I have worked with him. I have a long history with him," said Masina.

Admitting theirs was a political environment, Masina questioned why Mojapelo had even decided to work with them.

"We are not playing here, this is government, here we implement decisions.

"If he says he is being targeted, ask him what he is doing at a political institution, he should have started his own company or go to Coca Cola, or something," said Masina.

Read more on:    lesiba mojapelo  |  mzwandile masina  |  johannesburg  |  corruption

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