Public Protector investigates Tshwane city manager for abuse of power

2019-03-05 16:41
Dr Moeketsi Mosola

Dr Moeketsi Mosola

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The office of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has confirmed it has started an investigation into embattled Tshwane municipal manager Moeketsi Mosola.

At least three former employees of the City of Tshwane, including former spokesperson Selby Bokaba, lodged a complaint with Mkhwebane, accusing the municipal manager of abusing the powers of his office.

Mkhwebane's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said "the investigation was still in its early stages".

"(It’s in) relation to the extension of contracts of employment for some staff, to the unjust exclusion of others and unilateral alterations to staff’s conditions of employment, among other things," explained Segalwe.

Mosola has been accused of using his position to target certain staffers in the DA-run municipality and disregarding municipal processes, in a bid to keep others out of a job.

The embattled municipal manager, who spent much of 2018 battling former Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, even turning to the courts to stop any attempts to place him on suspension, has now been accused of using his office to frustrate some staffers and "unilaterally changing the staffing policy" to keep some executives out of a job in the City.

MUST READ: Tshwane City manager survives late-night motion to suspend

Former Tshwane executive director of strategic communications Selby Bokaba is one those who believe he was targeted by Mosola, and has lodged a complaint with Mkhwebane.

'I had heard rumours that he was coming after me'

Bokaba, whose contract with the City had been extended three times before he was axed in December, told News24 he believed Mosola had "personal issues" with him and had ignored recommendations from the City’s human resources, finance and legal departments that he should be made permanent following an interview he had for his own job last year.

"I was not necessarily surprised to see him ignoring all recommendations that I be made permanent. I had heard rumours that he was coming after me," said Bokaba.

The former Tshwane employee said the municipal manager had sought to frustrate this process by suddenly demanding that he undergo a competency test, which is a requirement for more senior positions.

Bokaba said Mosola had requested the competency test, knowing that there was no contract in place with a company that conducts this, and that it would take almost another year to have this done.

"I have had no income for the past two months, yet I am the best person for the job. I met all requirements, had the recommendations. I come with 18 years of experience; I have a postgraduate qualification and just submitted a proposal for my masters," complained Bokaba.

He told News24 that those who felt targeted by Mosola felt they had no choice but to turn to the Public Protector for a solution.

"For those of us with no money to go to court, the Public Protector is our last resort," he said.

Bokaba described the months that he had worked under Mosola during the height of the irregular multibillion-rand GladAfrica scandal as difficult, telling News24 he had clashed with the manager over media statements on at least two occasions.

"He would try issue statements with my name on them, without my knowledge," said Bokaba.

'He would say, you are playing politics'

He said the move, which he challenged, had resulted in tension between the two.

"He wanted his statements loaded and sent out within five minutes of writing them, refusing for us to do our job and to at least language edit his work," reflected Bokaba.

READ: New Tshwane mayor cancels controversial GladAfrica contract

Mosola, who recently fired several city’s employees, including mayoral spokesperson Sameklo Mgobozi and head of the mayor’s office Stefan De Villiers, has been accused by some insiders of purging those who opposed him in the GladAfrica scandal.

His decision regarding the latest set of terminations has the support of new Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa, who told News24 on Monday that he couldn’t terminate an irregular tender and retain staffers in his office who were not appointed in the correct manner.

Bokaba, however, said Mosola did take issue with those who agreed with the former mayor’s position on the GladAfrica scandal.

"He would say, you are playing politics if you agree with Solly Msimanga," he said.

Bokaba also claimed to have complained about the city manager to the former mayor, who’s efforts he felt were frustrated in council by the DA’s informal partner, the EFF, and the opposition ANC.

Msimanga refused to comment on the claims when News24 contacted him.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: GladAfrica scandal - Mosola quietly concedes tender was irregular, says official

On Monday, the Young Communist League in Tshwane also accused Mosola of being opportunistic in how he dealt with some of the staffers in the capital city.

The league, through a statement by district secretary Kgabo Morifi, claimed that there were more people who needed to be fired by Mosola, accusing him of being "opportunistic and inconsistent", with how he dealt with employees of the City.

'The matter is closed'

It named Landela Mahlati and Msizi Myeza as some of the staffers who deserved to be fired, accusing the former of being forced on the department of roads and transport against the advice of supervisors and the HR department.

"Mahlati was forced on the department to take care of the exorbitant GladAfrica invoices," said Morifi, who also labelled Myeza as the "brains behind GladAfrica".

News24 sent detailed questions to Mosola through his media representatives. He confirmed having received correspondence from the Public Protector, but refused to comment further on the matter.

"It is not in the characteristic of the City of Tshwane to comment on administrative matters that are under investigations. Suffice to say, my office is fully cooperating with the Office of the Public Protector strictly and that all the City of Tshwane processes are being followed in this regard," said Mosola.

He said, once the investigation had been completed and recommendations made, his office would release a statement.

Mosola said grievances raised by labour union Samwu on behalf of staffers who have had their contracts terminated had been addressed by his office during an ordinary quarterly meeting on the February 7.

"This matter is closed," he said.

Read more on:    public protector  |  city of tshwane  |  moeketsi mosola
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