Addressing the media at Tshwane House, ANC regional chairperson Kgosi Maepa said the DA/EFF “coalition that began in August 2016” had plunged the City “into an unimaginable and disastrous journey to financial ruin and destruction”.
Maepa claimed the City was battling to pay its creditors, such as Eskom and Rand Water, as a result.
“Information we received indicates that the City is battling to pay Eskom, Rand Water and other service providers due to lack of funds, and it is using a terrible rotation system adopted by the DA/ EFF coalition government as a means to appear as if the City has not yet reached a stage of bankruptcy,” he said. Maepa did not produce hard evidence to substantiate his claims.
He said the information he shared with the media was based on what Pretoria mayor Randall Williams’s “enemies” told the ANC. Maepa also challenged journalists to assist in verifying the information.
He claimed Williams worked with an ANC aligned Cosatu while he was working for the Department of Trade and Industry, but “left under unscrupulous and shady circumstances”.
“We have received more information about his activities, and we will share details at the right time as more evidence is verified and confirmed,” he said.
Maepa also attributed the collapse of the administration to a controversial multimillion-rand contract awarded to GladAfrica, which was found by the auditor-general to have been irregular. The City and the company eventually parted ways by mutual agreement.
The regional ANC leader said the instability in the City was also caused by changing four mayors in four years, and with four sets of budgets that were not implemented.
The mayors he referred to are Solly Msimanga (2016-2018), Stevens Mokgalapa (2018-2019), acting mayor Abel Tau and now Williams.
Maepa’s remarks came a week after Williams said in council that he had received a letter from the National Treasury bemoaning the financial standing of the City.
Williams said the City’s current liability of R14 billion exceeded its assets value by 3bn. However, Maepa insisted that the bankruptcy must be attributed to instability and financial mismanagement caused by the DA/EFF coalition government.
Approached for comment, Williams’s chief of staff, Jordan Griffiths, who speaks for the mayor on political issues, hit back at Maepa, calling him a “liar”.
“It is a common fact that even in the ANC they refer to him as ‘Kgosi the liar Maepa’,” he said.
He denied that the EFF and the DA were in a coalition, saying the EFF was against Williams as a mayoral candidate in October last year.
Regarding the instability in the council, Griffiths said: “As for the political instability, the irony of this is that it is the ANC that repeatedly collapsed the City of Tshwane council towards the end of 2019/2020, such that the ANC provincial government dissolved the council.”
Maepa also said Williams was a product of the French Foreign Legion.
“He is a legionnaire.
“Legionnaires are French soldiers who volunteer to join the French army from foreign countries, and don’t mind earning little and be deployed anywhere around the world to defend France,” he said.
Griffiths maintained that it was common knowledge that Williams had been a legionnaire.
“It has been well publicised and written about in other newspapers. He joined the French Legion with the intention of being trained as soldier to return to South Africa during the apartheid regime.
That is well known; it seems the ANC has learnt about it very recently,” he said.
Griffiths dismissed as “nonsense” the claims that the DA-led administration was battling to pay Rand Water and Eskom and other service providers.
The DA said Williams was considering taking legal action against Maepa for alleged defamation of character.
EFF regional chairperson Moafrika Mabogwana denied his party was in coalition with the DA.
“We are on the opposition benches, and worse we don’t have the same numbers that they have as the ANC.
Thus, it can’t be correct that if there are failures in the City they blame us. We are an opposition party with only 25 seats,” he said.
The ANC had to take the blame for service delivery failures because it was also governing wards like the DA.