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Tshwane mayoral spokesperson fired over ‘irregular’ appointment

City of Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga delivers his State of the City Address at Tshwane House on April 11, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Deaan Vivier)

City of Tshwane mayoral spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi has been fired with immediate effect.

Mgobozi confirmed his axing to News24 on Monday, saying he was informed of the decision last week through a letter sent to him by municipal manager Moeketsi Mosola.

In the letter, which News24 has seen, Mosola tells the former mayoral spokesperson that there was no other “option”, as his appointment was at odds with legislation and a collective agreement.

“In essence, the Auditor-General (AG) has found that your appointment was irregular and that the payment of your salary constitutes irregular expenditure,” explained Mosola to Mgobozi.

Mgobozi’s appointment had previously been flagged as one of at least three questionable ones made by former Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, who argued that there was nothing wrong with the selections as they were political appointments.

The former spokesperson also believed he was targeted in an ongoing purge by Mosola of people who once worked with Msimanga.

“Effectively this is a continued fight against the former mayor,” remarked Mgobozi when called for comment.

The former spokesperson said he had not seen the AG’s report and would ask to be given a copy to see how the findings related to his position.

Mosola and Msimanga had been at odds over the irregularly appointed multibillion-rand GladAfrica contract, with the latter failing to suspend the municipal manager several times in the city’s council.

Current Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa, who took over the reins from Msimanga in February, has sided with the municipal manager in the matter.

“An audit was done to say who in my office has what credentials, and it was found his did not meet those required for the job, so his appointment was irregular,” said Mokgalapa.

He dismissed Mgobozi’s theory of a “purge”.

“There’s no greater purge, you reported on this issue … I’ve just dealt with an irregular contract. I cannot have irregular appointments in my office,” he said.

Last week Mokgalapa terminated the City’s contract with GladAfrica, following months of calls to do so from members of the opposition.

Mosola, who fought attempts to be removed by Msimanga at every turn, insisting the tender was regular, eventually conceded to it being irregular following the AG’s findings on the issue.

The AG’s report showed that R317m already paid to the built environment consultancy firm in a R12bn tender was not above board.

Meanwhile, Mgobozi has already started exploring the legal route.

He has written to Mosola’s office through his lawyer, requesting reasons for his dismissal. DM

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