DA ready to axe Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa

Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa Roads and transport MMC Sheila Senkubuge.
Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa Roads and transport MMC Sheila Senkubuge.

Despite his special leave being rescinded by the DA, a cloud still hangs over the head of Mokgalapa, with sources claiming the party’s ready to axe him.

The ill-fated alliance of Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa and Sheila Senkubuge, the member of mayoral committee (MMC) for roads and transport, came crashing down after the DA’s federal legal commission opened an investigation into him, and she resigned on Friday after allegations that she was not a South African citizen when the DA included her on its 2016 local elections councillor list.

Mokgalapa and Senkubuge came under fire last week when an audio recording of the pair surfaced.

City Press has learnt that it was recorded on October 2 and is 15 hours long.

Of that, only 29 minutes were widely circulated on social media.

In the recording, Mokgalapa and Senkubuge are allegedly heard calling various politicians names, including some from their own party, while also plotting to fire a colleague.

DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi said the federal legal commission was investigating the unsavoury remarks.

“The commission is investigating the unsavoury remarks made about his [Mokgalapa’s] colleagues and the inference to possible interference in administrative issues which aren’t the responsibility of politicians,” said Malatsi.

Commission chairperson advocate Glynnis Breytenbach confirmed that the matter was indeed before the commission but could not disclose when the verdict would be handed down.

The mayor can be heard saying ANC Tshwane chairperson Kgoši Maepa is proving to be a serious thorn on his administration.

Mokgalapa can also be heard calling his predecessor, Solly Msimanga’s policies “stupid” as well as saying he [Msimanga] has a “big head”.

“I wonder who is funding him,” Mokgalapa says to Senkubuge.

She responds: “But we know who is funding him.”

Mokgalapa then says: “We should close the tap.”

Sources familiar with the matter told City Press that “Mokgalapa has been on edge after Maepa took his administration to court”.

“Even though Maepa lost the case [in which he was challenging the legality of the removal of former city manager Moeketsi Mosola and wanted the settlement made to him made public] Mokgalapa has been feeling threatened by his snooping,” the source said.

The source added Mokgalapa’s utterances that “we should close the tap” could be interpreted as meaning that they [Mokgalapa and Senkubuge] were aware of an individual who was awarded a tender by the city and in turn was footing the bill for the numerous court challenges that Maepa has launched against Mokgalapa’s administration.

“Such sentiments are tantamount to Mokgalapa subverting municipal statutes as a mayor should not interfere in the awarding of tenders or the termination of already existing ones,” said the source.

Maepa told City Press that he was unaware of the individual being referred to by Mokgalapa in the recording, adding that the mayor may be harbouring “intentions to destroy a business in the name of closing non existent taps”.

Mokgalapa can also be heard calling his predecessor, Solly Msimanga’s policies “stupid” as well as saying he [Msimanga] has a “big head”.

Mokgalapa is then heard bragging about his scheduled trip to Denmark, saying that when Msimanga assumed office in 2016, members of the Tshwane administration could only fly economy class.

The pair can be heard calling Tshwane speaker Katlego Matheba a “witch” and accusing the MMC for finance Mare-Lise Fourie of leaking information.

Mokgalapa also discusses a plan to fire the city’s chief operations officer James Murphy.

He can be heard saying he has spoken to the acting city manager about removing Murphy.

“I will do that [have Murphy fired] when I get back from Denmark. Murphy and the REDs [regional executive directors] will be done away with,” Mokgalapa says.

DA Tshwane regional chairperson Abel Tau, who was announced by the party as acting mayor before council rescinded the decision to put Mokgalapa on special leave, is understood to be the party’s outright favourite to replace Mokgalapa.

Sources also alleged that “this could have been the reason why the DA played delaying tactics in hearing the motion of no confidence [brought by the EFF] last week as they might be giving the federal legal commission time to finalise its investigation so the party can push through Tau, a more favourable individual”.

Meanwhile, the ANC in Tshwane is laying a complaint with the Public Protector and the Hawks on Monday regarding Senkubuge’s nationality.

Regional chairperson Maepa told City Press that the party was in possession of information that shows that Senkubuge is a foreign national.

“We will be laying a complaint on Monday. We know she is not a citizen because of her ID number. How can you have two ID numbers?” Maepa said.

The first complaint was laid by Pretoria entrepreneur and former DA ward councillor Alexander Willem Frederik, who in an affidavit claimed that Senkubuge was from Uganda.

“Miss Senkunbuge immigrated to South Africa in 2011 from Uganda and according to information obtained from the department of home affairs, she first entered South Africa as a foreign national in August 2011 and was naturalised as a South African citizen in August last year,” Frederik’s affidavit reads.

Frederik then explains that Senkubuge joined the DA on August 5 2014, according to a copy of the DA’s Ward 44 branch membership list.

He adds that she only held permanent residency at that point.

He then implies that other members of the DA Tshwane caucus were also privy to this information.

He also questions why this was never flagged by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) or the party’s officials.

“I am also aware that upon receipt of the lists, the IEC does its own checks to confirm the eligibility of all candidates.

“Exactly what that verification process entails is not within my knowledge. But I would assume that the IEC would call the department of home affairs to confirm the citizenship status and so forth,” the affidavit reads.

Senkubuge resigned on Friday, without waiting for the results of the federal legal commission’s findings, citing that there was a clear intention to “vilify” her.

She said she was born and raised in South Africa, although Uganda was her “home country”.

“Therefore, as much as it is with regret that I tender my resignation with immediate effect, I do so in order to not betray the spirit, the struggle and the sacrifice that our forebears made and the charge they gave us, which is to always put our people first, as articulated in the Batho Pele principles,” she said in her resignation letter.

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