A view of the City of Tshwane, from Freedom Park. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
A view of the City of Tshwane, from Freedom Park. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Gauteng local government MEC Lebogang Maile has appointed former West Rand mayor Mpho Nawa to take over as administrator of Tshwane.

The former ANC mayor takes over the administration of the metro, which was previously led by a DA mayor, with effect from Monday.

The Gauteng government placed the municipality under administration early in March after a series of collapsed meetings, including two to elect a new mayor, passing an adjustment budget and appointing an acting municipal manager.

Nawa will be supported by a team of professionals from the public service and private sector.

Addressing journalists in Tshwane on Monday, Maile was quick to defend his decision to appoint Nawa to lead the team, saying his government was not interested in the political affiliations of the team.

“There is nobody who does not have political views and preferences. You might just as well ask everybody in the team what are their political views or preferences, but we are not going to do that because we are not interested in their political preferences,” said Maile.

“It might be that you know Mr Nawa because he used to be a mayor, but it doesn't disqualify him from working for government and executing any assignment. By the way, he is a chief director of the basics programme in government, and back to basics is about helping municipalities.

“He is the right person because that's what he does at work, he gets paid for that. We are not interested in his political views. In government he is not a politician, he is an administrator, an astute one for that matter. He holds a master's degree and he is a PhD candidate, so he is not mediocrity. We didn't just pick someone from the street because we like them, because they are ANC. We don't work like that,” said Maile.

Maile was responding to a question about whether the appointment affirmed the DA's views that the ANC was manoeuvring to take over via the back door.

Maile is in a battle with the DA over his government's move to place the municipality under administration. The opposition party has taken the matter to the high court in Pretoria in a bid to interdict the decision. The matter will be heard on Tuesday.

Asked if his government was jumping the gun by installing an administrator just a day before the matter will be heard in court, Maile said he was acting according to the law.

“When you dissolve council, you can't not have an administrator because the law also directs the [provincial cabinet] to appoint an administrator. So we have no choice. We would be in contravention of the law if we did not appoint an administrator,” said Maile.

He said his move was also informed by the provincial government's confidence in their case, based on the DA's application.

“They are chance takers. They are bruised as well. This has been a very difficult battle for them. I feel for them,” said Maile.

He said he could not waste time waiting for the court action “because the people of Tshwane are not interested in politics and have been suffering”.