The DA is in a dilemma as it ponders whether to fire, retain or move embattled Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa to a different portfolio.
City Press understands that the party’s federal legal commission, which conducted an internal investigation on the mayor and former roads and infrastructure MMC Sheila Senkubuge, found that there was sufficient evidence suggesting Mogalapa’s interference with administrative processes.
A source within the DA said following the finding the legal commission recommended that “he is no longer fit to hold the position of mayor in the metro”.
“There are, however, those in the party who want Mokgalapa to stay, arguing that the party has lost too many capable black leaders. Others want him to be retained in his role as they argue that the evidence suggesting that he may have been interfering in administrative duties was obtained illegally,” said the source.
DA federal members who spoke to City Press said the continued delay in acting on the mayor was as a result of “Mokgalapa having serious backing within the DA’s black Gauteng caucus.
“Ask yourself why he was appointed mayor when Solly Msimanga stepped down from the position. They could have appointed Tshwane chairperson Abel Tau but chose him instead,” said one member.
“One individual who has been a stumbling block in Mokgalapa’s removal has been Gauteng DA leader John Moodey,” said another DA member who spoke to City Press.
The ANC Tshwane caucus on Friday released a statement saying: “We are being told by sources in the DA that Moodey is doing everything to defend and bring back Mokgalapa as mayor against the federal legal commission’s disciplinary hearing decision.”
Kgosi Maepa, who is the chairperson of the ANC in Tshwane, also went on to say in the statement that he had been reliably told that “Moodey will bring a federal executive motion to try and reverse Mokgalapa’s expulsion, to ask for his reinstatement and to request that the DA ignore the audio recording for political reasons”, referring to the audio clip of Mokgalapa and Senkubuge engaged in sexual intercourse which was leaked to the media.
Moodey denied “any such accusation made by faceless cowards”, saying that “the federal executive has the responsibility to deal with this and other such matters”.
However, when asked why the DA was taking long to decide on Mokgalapa, Moodey during a DA media briefing two weeks ago said “there are many issues to consider, among them being how the evidence [audio recording] was obtained”.
He urged the public to await the Tshwane council’s ethics committee findings before the DA makes public the findings of its commission.
However, many within the party are understood to be now questioning the differential treatment between Mokgalapa and George Mayor Melvin Naik. The later faces imminent suspension following a forensic investigation into allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration.
“There are double standards in how the DA is handling these two matters.
“In Tshwane they want to wait for the outcome of the ethics commission first when the federal legal commission has already concluded its investigation, made findings and made recommendations. This begs the question why Mokgalapa is being treated with kid gloves,” said a well-placed source in the matter.
Aggrieved DA members are now lamenting how the DA “is degenerating into a semblance of the ANC”, with rife suggestions that the party is considering moving Mokgalapa to Parliament instead of firing him and “risk losing another black political figure in the party”.
“The party is scared of public perceptions at this point, and being seen to be pushing out yet another popular black leader scares the current leadership,” said the source.
He added that another problematic situation presenting itself within the party was “who will be the party’s choice to replace Mokgalapa. They have overlooked Tau for far too long and should they overlook him again as some, particularly the white caucus in Tshwane, have been proposing, council speaker Katlego Mathebe will alienate some voters in the metro as Tau enjoys significant backing as chairperson in the metro.”
The DA is faced with not picking Tau and frustrating the majority who support him or overlooking Mathebe “and facing the possibility of further angering her and other MMCs who were attacked by Mokgalapa in the recording”, said a DA member.