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Council withdraws Tshwane mayor's request to revoke appointment of acting city manager

Stevens Mokgalapa.
Stevens Mokgalapa.
Image: Trevor Samson / Business Day

Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa's push for the appointment of the metro's acting city manager to be revoked fell flat after a marathon special council meeting on Tuesday.

Mokgalapa sought council approval to revoke the appointment of chief operations officer James Murphy as the acting accounting officer at a special meeting held in committee which took more than eight hours.

The rescission was opposed by the ANC while the EFF demanded to know who was currently acting as the city manager as outgoing Moeketsi Mosola was on leave.

Following heated engagements between councillors, Mokgalapa's request was withdrawn by council despite the mayor having argued that Murphy had been fingered by the auditor-general.

Mokgalapa told council that he had come across an auditor-general's report whose  recommendations were against the council's decision to appoint Murphy.

Murphy was however cleared by the city's internal audit chief earlier this month who indicated that the AG's report which Mokgalapa was relying on had been withdrawn. 

The report related to allegations that Murphy was named as a person of interest in a probe over donations to NGOs by the city about five years ago.

Mokgalapa blamed the ANC for the collapse of the meeting. He said that the ANC were against the implementation of the report's recommendations against Murphy.

"Implementing these recommendations would improve the City's service delivery mandate tremendously," said Mokgalapa.

"Failure to implement them undermines constitutional bodies such as the Auditor General and governance.":

He further accused the ANC of not placing the interests of Tshwane residents first.

However ANC Tshwane chairperson Kgoši Maepa, who had tweeted after the meeting that the "ANC spent the whole day teaching the DA rules and how resolutions work", said Murphy remained the legally appointed acting city manager.

"The mayor or Dr Moeketsi Mosola don't have powers to appoint an acting city manager, only council can appoint according to section 54A of the Municipal Systems Act," Maepa said.

The EFF said what happened in council on Tuesday showed how the DA and the ANC have "turned the metro into a joke".

"What happened exposes the current mayor [Mokgalapa] who has no idea what he's doing. We feel vindicated as the EFF because we warned them when they appointed Mr Murphy that they need to do due diligence," said the EFF's Tshwane chairperson MoAfrika Mabogoane.

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