Should the City of Tshwane proceed to pay city manager Moeketsi Mosola a R7-million golden handshake, councillors who voted for it would be forced to pay back the money from their own pockets irrespective of whether they were ANC members.
These were the sentiments expressed by an impassioned Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile on Thursday.
Maile told City Press that he had warned the city not to go ahead “with this ludicrous decision”.
“I don’t know who voted for this but what I know is that it’s the wrong decision and we condemn it. If there is any money that will be paid, we will pursue it not only from the municipality but also the individual councillors who voted for the settlement irrespective of their political affiliation,” he said.
This came after the City of Tshwane and the Gauteng provincial government remained at loggerheads over the alleged R7 million golden handshake.
Maile on Tuesday sent the city a letter demanding answers, but the city was not backing down saying through its mayoral spokesperson Omogolo Taunyane that it did not account to Maile.
“We have written them [Mayor Steven Mokgalapa’s office] a letter about the R7 million. In the letter we seek clarity on whether such a decision was indeed taken. If it was we instruct them to rescind such a reckless undertaking. We are awaiting their response and have given them until tomorrow. If they haven’t responded by then we will take it from there,” Taunyane told City Press on Thursday.
The comments came after Maile had said it was “reckless on the part of the municipality, and insensitive” that they had taken such a decision “in light of the current economic climate facing the country.”
“We are calling on them to review that position. They cannot be making such irrational decisions,” said Maile.
Taunyane confirmed receipt of the scathing letter but maintained that the city’s stance remained the same, adding that “we do not report to the MEC” and would not be revealing the merits of the settlement agreement at this stage.
This despite Maile indicating that the cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC had a legislative duty to provide the necessary oversight on municipalities, which have been sorely lacking.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse had written to the MEC imploring him to exercise his oversight powers and halt payment of any settlement to Mosola.
Taunyane told City Press that Mosola had not yet signed the settlement agreement.
“The city manager has been given a settlement agreement, however, he has not signed the document, hence his request that he be placed on special leave for him to carefully consider the offer,” said Taunyane.
She revealed that the city might be “in a better position” to disclose the settlement agreement after both parties had signed the documents.
Speaking to News24 last week, DA Gauteng leader John Moodey said the separation agreement was the most “practical” way to move forward because the city manager still enjoyed the “protection” of the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters.
The City of Tshwane was facing another dilemma after about 22 000 of its municipal workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union embarked on a strike following the city’s admission that it bent the rules when it approved an 18% salary increase for its 64 senior staff.
The matter resulted in chaos in the city this week, with municipal workers blocking traffic and strewing rubbish on the streets.
Taunyane said a resolution might be in sight as the negotiations were proceeding smoothly.
“Both parties are negotiating in good faith and given where we left of yesterday, I foresee an amicable outcome by today or latest tomorrow,” she said.