Stevens Mokgalapa promises to get to bottom of GladAfrica saga

New Tshwane mayor promises to explore all legal avenues to minimise risks for city

New Tshwane mayor vows to get to bottom of multi-billion rand GladAfrica saga

Newly elected Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa has vowed to become "Mr Service Delivery" who will act on the multi-billion rand GladAfrica saga.

Mokgalapa was elected on Wednesday during a special council sitting - a day after his predecessor, Solly Msimanga, vacated office and took up a new role as one of the DA's members of the provincial legislature.

This is the DA's second mayor since it took control of the capital city from the ANC through a coalition government following the 2016 municipal elections.

"The people of Tshwane are impatient for change. Progress has been made, but not enough," said Mokgalapa in his maiden address at council.

Mokgalapa promised to work tirelessly to improve service delivery for all the metro's residents - an issue he also raised during a media briefing when he was announced as the DA's mayoral candidate.

He told journalists a few weeks ago that service delivery had gone down in Tshwane, even under the DA's leadership.

Msimanga left under a cloud of controversy, which including tension around the contentious GladAfrica deal and claims of improper appointments in his office. However, he said the sole reason for his resignation was to focus on his campaign to become Gauteng premier.

Mokgalapa mentioned plans to stabilise and refocus the DA-led administration, which he said entailed getting the City's finances right.

"The irregular expenditure incurred in the GladAfrica contract will be investigated, recovered where possible and any implicated persons [will] be held accountable to the full extent of the law," he said.

The Midrand-based company, which was hired to manage infrastructure projects on behalf of the government, has caused serious tension between Msimanga and his municipal manager, Dr Moeketsi Mosola, who he has tried unsuccessfully, to suspend numerous times.

In September, Msimanga brought to council allegations of wrongdoing pertaining to the GladAfrica appointment on the City manager's part. An independent investigation was authorised, but Mosola was not suspended by council, News24 reported.

The scandal also provided opposition parties with ammunition, resulting in the ANC in the region launching numerous campaigns against both Mosola and Msimanga. The latter even faced attempts to remove him through a motion of no confidence.

"Dependant on the review of the GladAfrica contract, I will explore all legal avenues to minimise associated risks for the City, including extracting the City from the contract," said Mokgalapa.

While promising to turn the City into an environment that created jobs and which was safe for its residents, the new mayor said he would also ensure senior managers were well qualified.

"We'll ensure senior managers are held to the very highest standard that is required through an intense performance management system that I will review upon taking office," he said.