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Tshwane gives city boss secret ‘R7m’ handshake

2019-07-29 00:00

Metro council reaches settlement agreement that includes a backdated raise of 18% to have municipal manager Moeketsi Mosola leave quietly

The DA-led Tshwane metro council on Thursday secretly awarded the city’s controversial municipal manager an 18% raise and a golden handshake worth millions.

City Press’ sister publication, Rapport, has also established that the council has apparently agreed that an investigation report by law firm Bowmans, which presumably lays bare Moeketsi Mosola’s role in a multimillion-rand contract, would be regarded as “worthless” and would never be used against him.

In terms of the settlement agreement, which Rapport has seen, the parties are not allowed to make any negative statements about each other.

During the council’s monthly meeting on Thursday, the proposed agreement was discussed behind closed doors and council members were made to return the documents, including a copy of the agreement, after the meeting.

With the exception of the EFF, all the parties supported the proposed agreement.

It entails a retrospective increase of 18%, backdated to 2017, and a payout for more than half of what remains of his five-year contract.

Council members Rapport spoke to estimate that his golden handshake is worth more than R7 million and, according to the agreement, it must be in his bank account before Wednesday – his last day at work.

According to the report that was presented to the council about the move, it was meant to “stabilise” the municipality and place the city in a position to put service delivery first.

Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa did not want to say anything about the agreement when approached by Rapport for comment.

His spokesperson, Omogolo Tuayane, would only say that the council on Thursday authorised the mayor to get the agreement signed.

In response to a question about why the agreement was discussed in secret, Tuayane said it was within Mokgalapa’s ambit to resolve the deadlock “in the interest of the residents”.

Mosola also declined to comment, and referred enquiries to Mokgalapa.

Wayne Duvenage, the managing director of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, condemned the golden handshake and said his organisation was meeting with its legal team this week with an eye on trying to halt the payment.

Mosola, a former tourism boss, was appointed by the DA-led council in March 2017, despite the fact that he had no experience in municipal management.

His initial salary was R2.4 million a year.

Mosola is widely regarded as a candidate proposed by the EFF in exchange for that party’s support for the DA to remain in power in Tshwane.

But things went sour when an irregular agreement between the city and GladAfrica was exposed in the media.

Former mayor Solly Msimanga, requested an inquiry by law firm Bowmans, but Mosola obtained an interdict to prevent the report from being tabled. News24 reported that the city paid his legal costs.

Council members have therefore not seen the report, but nevertheless supported the agreement that nullifies the Bowmans report.

The agreement also stipulates that the parties undertake not to utilise the report, whether directly or indirectly, to publish it, or refer to it in any way, and to regard it as worthless.

The relationship between Mosola and Msimanga broke down completely and Msimanga resigned to become the DA’s premier candidate in Gauteng.

When Mokgalapa took over as mayor in February, he initially said he had a good working relationship with Mosola.

The EFF has since withdrawn its support for the DA in the metro council as a result of the DA’s refusal to cede the office of the mayor to the party.

John Moody, DA leader in Gauteng, on Thursday said that the decision to kick Mosola out had not been made lightly.

“The DA-led city has twice attempted to suspend Mosola for his role in the GladAfrica matter and for contravening the code of conduct for municipal staff members … On both occasions, the ANC and the EFF prevented the DA caucus from suspending the city manager,” Moody said.

He said that, as a result of limitations in legislation and the protection that the ANC and EFF have afforded Mosola, the separation package was the best way to move forward.

He added that the agreement would save the city an expensive and drawn-out court battle.

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September 15 2019