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By Peter Mothiba

Rooiwaal  Wastewater treatment plant in Hammanskraal, Tshwane photo by Dimakatso Modipa
Rooiwaal Wastewater treatment plant in Hammanskraal, Tshwane photo by Dimakatso Modipa

City of Tshwane Mayor Cilliers Brink is irked by the apparent lenient verdict and sanction meted out by a disciplinary committee that adjudicated in the case of the Rooiwaal Five.

The Rooiwaal Five are senior officials of the City of Tshwane who have been subjected to a disciplinary hearing in connection with the Rooiwaal Wastewater Treatment Plant fiasco.

This situation has led to Mayor Brink announcing that he would be appealing the ”not guilty” part of the verdict on three of the four charges, as well as the “one month suspension without pay” ruling made by the disciplinary committee.

Brink announced at the weekend that he would be appealing this matter at the Labour Court.

Observing the serious manner in which Brink takes the outcome of the disciplinary committee, Tshwane Talks requested the names of the people who sat on the self-same committee to be revealed but was turned down by the City of Tshwane Municipality’s media team in this regard.

The request was made out of public interest as the recommendations of members of the disciplinary committee have raised curiosity, but the City’s media team responded as follows:

“We don’t disclose the names of the prosecutor and chairperson of the committee as this has never been done before,”.

Tshwane Talks then requested to be referred to an Act, rule or law that prevents the media team from revealing the identities of those who sat in the disciplinary committee, but no response has been forthcoming in this regard.

The accused in this matter were seemingly found guilty of an apparently less serious charge among the four charges they were facing, hence the curiousity regarding the identity of those who dished out the verdict and sentence.

This curiousity is enhanced by Mayor Brink’s statement to the effect that these are charges which warrant outright dismissal and not the recommended one month without pay sanction, after which the errant senior officials would go back to their jobs in the municipality

City Manager Johaan Mettler then decided to put the officials on suspension with full pay pending the outcome of the Labour Court appeal that will be launched by Mayor Cilliers Brink.

The names of the suspended Rooiwaal Five officials are:

1. Thembeka Mphefu – Head of Supply Chain Management.

2. Stephens Notoane – Head of Water and Sanitation Department.

3. Justice Sekokotla- Director of Energy and Electricity Department.

4. Dr Frans Manganyi- Divisional Head of Energy and Electricity Department.

5. Dumisani Gabuza- Divisional Head of Water and Sanitation Department.

The charges that were faced by the Rooiwaal Five are as follows:

1. Allowing Blackhead Consulting to proceed to the next stage of the evaluation process without being registered with the Consortium Industry Development Board.

2. Consensus-based decision-making instead of evaluating the process independently as members of the BEC.

3.Inclusion of Blackhead Consulting to render professional services in circumstances where the City of Tshwane had already appointed a company that would render the self-same services.

4. Evaluating the winning bidder on a 1.4m belt press width when the specification required was a 2m width.

It was only on the last charge that the Rooiwaal Five were found guilty.

Meanwhile, the Greater Tshwane Region of the ANC has fired a broadside at Mayor Brink, accusing him of being on a witch-hunt against the errant Rooiwaal Five.

“Councilors in the City of Tshwane Municipal chambers are still waiting for the report (of the Rooiwaal Five disciplinary hearing) to be tabled so that they can apply themselves to the contents thereof and communicate to the City of Tshwane residents, who they represent,” said the party’s Secretary George Matjila.

“However, we have seen the City of Tshwane manager (Johaan Mettler) and the Executive Mayor (Cilliers Brink) appropriating Council business to themselves,” he said.

Matjila said the DA-led coalition in Tshwane wants to control the narrative about good governance and that they (the coalition) desperately finalised the Rooiwaal Wastewater Treatment Plant matter for the purpose of campaigning and electioneering.

“We are shocked that the DA mayor wants to take to the Labour Court the decision of a process which was initiated by him, and view this as a distrust of the City’s internal processes and an indication that the mayor is now on a witch-hunt,” he said.

Be that as it may, the DA in Tshwane has come out in support of Brink while condemning the ANC for criticising him.

“None of the Rooiwaal Five are section 56 managers as the Municipal Council did not appoint them and it would be unlawful for Council to try to alter the decisions of the City Manager on disciplinary matters which are in his purview,” said DA’s Tshwane Caucus spokesperson Kwena Moloto in a statement released to the media.

“One of the five officials that have now been suspended pending the Labour Court’s application to dismiss them, is the head of Tshwane’s Supply Chain Management,” said Moloto.

He said in the past decade, wherein Tshwane has accumulated irregular expenditure of more than R10 billion, the said official had been in charge of the Supply Chain Management Division.

“She has also been implicated in numerous matters, including the Glad Afrika case, but has not been dismissed,” lamented Moloto.

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