Msimanga to call for immediate suspension of city manager

Moeketsi Mosola
Moeketsi Mosola
Image: Brett Eloff

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga will on Wednesday morning recommend to a special sitting of council that the city manager be suspended immediately to prevent him interfering in an investigation into a R12 billion tender.

Msimanga has resolved to ask council to place city manager Moeketsi Mosola on suspension for a period of three months‚ pending an investigation into the contract awarded to engineering consultants GladAfrica to project manage all the city’s infrastructure projects for a period of three years.

The deal would net the engineering firm at least 10% in middleman commissions for managing the city’s entire capital projects budget that goes towards the construction of roads‚ electricity substations and other infrastructure such its bus rapid system A Re Yeng.

The Sunday Times reported that Mosola ignored the advice of senior officials and disregarded legal opinion that advised against going the consultancy route. This prompted Msimanga to institute a preliminary probe‚ which has since recommended that Mosola be placed on suspension while a full investigation is launched into the tender.

In the report recommending his suspension‚ Msimanga says he wants Mosola to vacate city premises immediately to avoid a situation where he could intimidate officials who are willing to testify about how the tender was awarded.

“It becomes evident that the presence of the city manager in the workplace would invariably jeopardise the investigative process…It is therefore desirable to immediately relieve the city manager of his duties to ensure that the process is smooth‚ unhindered and without any undue influence‚” the report states.

If council approves his suspension‚ Mosola will be given seven days to respond and provide reasons why he should not be suspended. Council would then reconvene after those seven days to consider his reasons and decide whether to reinstate him or not. But Msimanga wants the city manager to sit at home while formulating those reasons.

Msimanga said he was concerned when media reports first surfaced alleging irregularities in the manner in which the contract was awarded. He said he wrote to Mosola to request further clarity‚ which the city manager provided in a comprehensive response to questions.

“However‚ while this was underway‚ additional matters were brought to the fore which painted a picture of a compromised supply chain management process‚ a top management that had been cowered into silence‚ a possible failure to disclose financial interests and a suggestion that the alleged misconduct was of such a grave nature that it could inhibit the proper functioning of the municipality.”

Should council reject Mosola’s reasons as to why he should not be placed on suspension‚ it will have to appoint a special investigator to probe all the allegations. That investigator will be given 30 days to complete a full probe and submit a report. If the report recommends disciplinary charges‚ this will have to be passed by council via a resolution.

The consultants that Mosola appointed bill the city up to R4‚000 an hour to project manage its infrastructure projects and have been paid R250m since the start of the contract in November. The Midrand-based engineering firm’s team of 30 consultants who work on Tshwane projects are accommodated for free in the city’s Infotech building in Hatfield.

The ANC in the city has called on the Public Protector to launch a probe into the tender.

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