GladAfrica, the Midrand-based engineering firm which has been in the spotlight because of an Auditor-General (AG) finding that it was irregularly awarded a City of Tshwane contract, claims that it wanted to get out of the contract as far back as November 2018 already.The City and GladAfrica are to sign off a termination agreement this week, following talks with new Tshwane mayor, Stevens Mokgalapa.But GladAfrica's founder and chairman Noel Mashaba has used the opportunity to break his silence.He told News24 during a sit-down interview that the company had long decided to get out of the contract because of the environment in the City."When we wrote to the City of Tshwane, we informed the City that we would like to have a meeting to discuss the contract. That was the content of the letter. We didn't get a response. On the 28th of November, we were explicit then that we want to terminate the contract," said Mashaba.Last year, the Auditor-General's preliminary report, which was adopted in council this year, showed that the contract was irregularly awarded to GladAfrica.Mashaba said the AG's report was also discussed by the parties during a meeting ahead of the termination of the contract.ALSO READ: GladAfrica still using Tshwane offices, pays no rent, but rakes in over R400m for servicesHe said the engineering firm's decision to pull out of the contract was informed by how their employees stationed in Tshwane experienced the environment."When I talk of the environment deteriorating. I mean the environment for our employees deteriorated. It did not grant us an opportunity for success," Mashaba complained.One source at the City council confirmed that there had been tension between those seen to be in support of the municipal manager, Moeketsi Mosola, and those who once supported the former mayor, Solly Msimanga, who remain at odds with each other even though Msimanga has stepped down. Mashaba said he also understood why the City manager was seen to be protecting GladAfrica."I don't find it strange that the accounting manager would defend an organisation if someone speaks a particular way about it," he said."As to the degree of how he defended the contract, that is something else," continued Mashaba.ALSO READ: Tshwane ANC rejects mayor Mokgalapa's 'corrupt golden handshake' in GladAfrica scandalGladAfrica also denied that it had received a R12bn contract, saying there was no actual value attached and that it worked on a task-by-task basis instead."There is no R12bn. There's a framework contract with three categories – scope of work, fee structure and time frames," said Mashaba."Let's be honest, if they say a company, GladAfrica, has been awarded framework task orders, there are no figures. It needed to be spiced, isn't it? It would never sell otherwise," Mashaba said.