The Tshwane Metro was a “family affair”, with relatives of key officials holding strategic posts, particularly in procurement, mayor Solly Msimanga said on Tuesday.
Msimanga told Business Day that it would take time to dismantle the empires built by the previous ANC leadership.
The DA took over the running of the city in August, courtesy of EFF support after the municipal elections failed to produce a clear winner.
Msimanga 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 politicised 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.”
For example, the sister of former mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa was appointed a director in the procurement department, a post she held for the duration of her brother’s five-year term.
Msimanga said that in addition to Ramokgopa’s sister as a director in the procurement office, current ANC caucus head Mapiti Matsena’s sister, brother and cousin were also working in the department.
Ramokgopa denied 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”.
Ramokgopa said he supported the fight against corruption, whoever waged it, but Msimanga should not use the previous administration as a scapegoat for its failures in government.
Matsena 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.