Tshwane’s city manager, Moeketsi Mosola, was not suspended pending an investigation into procurement irregularities despite a report from mayor Solly Msimanga’s office tabled in council warning that his presence in the workplace could be detrimental to the stability of the municipality.
The metro’s council had dealt with the report from the executive mayor’s office on Monday in a special council meeting, and after hours of negotiating they agreed to have an investigation into the alleged procurement irregularities, but not to suspend Mosola pending the outcome of the independent probe.
The investigation into Mosola was in relation to a tender granted to engineering consultants GladAfrica which would have managed the city’s infrastructure budget over a three-year period through a Project Management Unit (PMU).
It has now emerged from the confidential report, which Business Day has seen, that Msimanga’s office believed that Mosola’s presence in the workplace was, under the circumstances, "untenable and not conducive for an unhindered investigation".
"His presence in the workplace will probably be detrimental to the stability of the municipality/administration and in order to prevent possible abuse of power against potential witnesses which might jeopardise the investigation, it is recommended that the CM [city manager] be suspended pending the investigation and possible institution of disciplinary proceeding(s)(if any) thereafter," the report reads.
The DA had pushed for Mosola to be suspended pending the investigation, while the EFF and the ANC was finally in support of an investigation, but not to have him suspended. The EFF had also initially pushed for council to remove GladAfrica’s name from the recommendations made by council, but later said it had been persuaded that it could stay, after the ANC said the company’s appointment was the issue at hand, and not the PMU.
According to the report Mosola has stated that he has at all times given his full co-operation and that he will continue to do so. He stated that he has done nothing "wrong or untoward", and has nothing to hide. He said he has always acted within the confines of the law, and that his presence will not jeopardise the investigation. His suspension will be detrimental to the stability of the municipality and that he will not interfere with potential witnesses.
The report by Msimanga’s office said the city manager’s response to the notice of intention to suspend that he was served with was "not satisfactory", and that he had failed to address certain issues and simply denied others.
The report said that the city manager enjoyed and wielded wide ranging and considerable legislative and other powers as head of the administration, and that there was concern that he had "shown a propensity to use disciplinary instruments — notices of intention to suspend — as an intimidatory tactic against senior officials who he deemed were not satisfactorily co-operating with regard to the implementation of the GladAfrica contract, in order to coerce co-operation and implementation, albeit by the other subordinates".
The concern was further raised that whistle-blowers who might be called upon were all Mosola’s subordinates and that they would "certainly not co-operate whilst the CM is present at the workplace for fear of secondary/subtle reprisals, intimidation and victimisation".
The report said it was paramount that whistle-blowers and other officials be protected and be able to provide unhindered co-operation in a stable environment.
Meanwhile, GladAfrica said it noted the resolution to initiate an investigation into the process, and believed it would put to rest any doubt.
"We offer our full co-operation and support to the process," GladAfrica said.
The company said in response to "continuous assaults on our good name and reputation", it had taken a decision to ask the Gauteng Ethics Advisory Council to probe the process undertaken by GladAfrica Project Managers (Pty) Ltd in bidding for the contract in question.
Mosola did not respond to a request for comment by late Tuesday.