/ 28 August 2018

I will be the DA’s only mayoral candidate — Msimanga

Newly elected Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga says he knows all about hardship because he grew up in the bleak streets of one of Pretoria’s oldest townships.
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga. (Delwyn Versamy/M&G)

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga is adamant his party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), would still put him as candidate for the position of mayor even if the motion of no confidence brought against him by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the ANC succeeds.

But EFF leader Julius Malema on Tuesday warned that his party would not support the DA if it did not put a different candidate other than Msimanga in the position of mayor.

The EFF is expected to table a motion of no confidence against Msimanga on Thursday, after the party accused him of being arrogant, taking orders from the “white DA caucus” and failing to consult other parties on major administrative decisions.

The decision followed Msimanga’s suspension of Tshwane city manager Moeketsi Mosola, after he allegedly awarded a R12-billion tender to engineering consultancy GladAfrica without following proper procurement procedures.

The EFF has said it will remain in a voting agreement with the DA provided the party fields a competent mayoral candidate — other than Msimanga — to take over.

He said the EFF would be willing to support the ANC if the party fielded its own candidate that was deemed credible.

During a media briefing on Tuesday, Msimanga said he would not give into the EFF’s demands for someone to take his position.

“The DA has given assurance that it stands behind the man it put in office, so the only man who will emerge as a candidate will be Solly Msimanga,” he said.

The EFF however has threatened to boycott the council sitting where a new mayor will be elected should the DA continue to field Msimanga even after he has been voted out and the ANC fail to bring a suitable candidate.

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian on Tuesday, Malema said through the EFF abstaining the DA would fail to secure the 50% +1 vote needed to re-elect Msimanga. “He requires 50% +1. So in the absence of the EFF both the ANC and DA do not have a majority and therefore there will not be a mayor,” Malema said.

“And in the absence of a mayor the municipality collapses and the province takes over. And in three months time we go to [snap] elections.”

However, explaining council procedure, Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe said the election of a mayor did not need an absolute majority (50% +1).

“When you vote for the executive mayor you need a simple majority not a council majority or absolute majority. The one thing that needs a council majority is the process of us voting to get there [having the motion tabled],” Mathebe said.

Msimanga claims the ANC was pushing for his removal because of his investigations into alleged corruption committed during the ANC’s administration. He has warned the EFF that it would be supporting the ANC’s alleged corruption if it voted him out.

Malema however refuted Msimanga’s claims that he is being victimised for fighting corruption, saying he was being removed because he couldn’t stand up to “the white caucus of the DA”.

“He must tell you how many corruption cases he has opened and which were successfully convicted. He has never fought any corruption. Unlike [Johannesburg mayor Herman] Mashaba who has been opening cases. Solly was quiet,” he said.

Malema also said Msimanga was not fit to stand as the DA’s premier candidate when he had failed to run a municipality.

“What type of premier is that going to be when he failed to run a small municipality like Tshwane? How will he handle a big province like Gauteng? The DA would just be shooting itself in the foot.

Earlier on Tuesday, Msimanga said attempts to have him removed from office were part of plot to taint his image following his selection as the DA’s candidate for the position of Gauteng premier.

“I’ve had calls to say ‘It looks like what’s happening here is a political gimmick to taint your premier candidacy’. And I think now the evidence piling up against them [ANC] builds up on that [claim],” Msimanga said. — Additional reporting by Matuma Letsoalo