Tshwane Mayor Msimanga Solly says Tshwane Metro has been run as a family affair with relatives of top officials holding strategic posts, particularly in procurement.
Mayor Msimanga, who was elected Tshwane new mayor for DA, snatching it away from the governing African National Congress in the last Local government election, said his administration is trying hard to dismantle what has been a norm in the metro.
The DA was able to win the metro through support from the EFF after the municipal elections failed to produce a clear winner.
Speaking with Business Day on Tuesday, Mayor Msimanga said it would take time to dismantle the empires built by the previous ANC leadership.
He said he was “cautiously optimistic” of his challenges in a metro with a R2bn budget deficit and steeped in ANC politics.
“One of the things I knew when I came here was that I was going to inherit a very, very politicized administration,” Msimanga said.
“If you go into the procurement office, all the previous MMCs [members of the mayoral committee] brought either their children or their brothers, sisters or someone related to them to work in that office to ensure that their companies or their friends’ companies will get the contracts, but not only the contract, but get the payment for sometimes jobs not done.”
The sister of former mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa was mentioned as a good example of the family business done in the metro.
Kgosientso Ramokgopa was appointed a director in the procurement department, a post she held for the duration of her brother’s five-year term.
Added to this is the current ANC caucus head Mapiti Matsena’s sister, brother and cousin who Mayor Msimanga said were also working in the procurement department.
Ramokgopa, however, denied the allegations that his sister’s appointment had anything to do with him, saying she was the most qualified person for the position and had gone through the necessary processes “without his knowledge”. He said he only became aware of her appointment “after it was made”.
He urged the new mayor not to use the previous administration as a scapegoat for his failures in government but quickly added that he would continue to fight against corruption, not minding whoever waged it.
Matsena also denied that any family members were appointed in the procurement department. “I want to categorically deny that any of my relatives are working there.
“Even if they are working there, I could not even have any influence because positions are advertised, people apply and they go for interviews,” he said.