(Bad) municipal administration: high office of the council of Joburg…

“If I’m going to report to the chairman of the board, which is within my rights, and those things are blocked and not filed, I’m left to my own devices…So it’s the concealment of those reports that bothers me. got thrown in the towel, because without having access to the city council, it has become… very risky for my personal and professional life to pursue the cases raised there internally.

These were the words of Mesuli Mlandu on his resignation as executive director of the Johannesburg City Manager’s office.

In his three reports mentioned above, Mlandu has submitted requests and correspondence to the President of the Council, the City Council, the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the SAPS and the Public Prosecutor’s Office which refer to allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration in the employment of Shadrack Sibiya.

Mlandu says the reports were withheld from last Wednesday’s council meeting because they implicated some people important to the ruling coalition.

“If the Sibiya case comes to council, former Joburg mayor and ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba will face the music and it will trap the coalition. At the beginning of the year, I fired 130 City employees for irregularities in their contracts… But when I find evidence of fraud and corruption in the employment of Sibiya, why am I stuck so that business be dealt with by the board?

Mlandu’s resignation follows a series of formal complaints against Mayor Mpho Phalatse.

Last month, Mlandu approached the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to force council chairman Vasco da Gama to take action against Phalatse’s alleged criminal conduct.

He further asked Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to intervene in Da Gama’s obstruction of the council to review a report on alleged subversion of evidence by Phalatse which implicates Sibiya in the illegal acquisition of counterintelligence instruments.

Phalatse and Sibiya were cleared by the State Security Agency (SSA) on allegations of possessing intelligence gathering equipment. However, Mlandu disputes this, saying the SSA evidence implicated both Phalatse and Sibiya.

Mlandu said that although he has resigned from his post, he will not give up on seeking justice for the people of Johannesburg. He said he would continue to pursue the case, not as a city employee, but as a state witness in ongoing investigations by the Hawks and the Public Protector.

“My battle with Sibiya didn’t start in 2022. In 2019 we were already at loggerheads because I questioned his appointment. He even sent people to the Eastern Cape, where I come from, to do an operation undercover about me.

Sibiya denied the allegations against him, saying Mlandu was obsessed with him and was “destructive”. Sibiya claims Mlandu resigned when he realized the board might be onto him over his influence in the interview and appointment of his former colleague Anele Kwababa, whom he denied knowing.

“He realized his case was on the board’s agenda for suspension, and he decided to resign.”

Sibiya says Mlandu has been on his case since he started working for the city.

“Immediately after joining the City, he began to report my appointment and that of Chief Tembe and another colleague to the Public Protector (PP). The PP sent a list of questions and also came to interview everyone involved. The PP produced a report and exonerated me… He [Mlandu] then moved the goal posts and alleged that information had been withheld from the Québec Ombudsman.

“He fights with so many people everywhere he goes. He alleges that I purchased spy equipment and asked State Security to conduct an official investigation, which they did. A report has now come out, but he and [acting City Manager] Floyd Brink is not ready to accept the result.

“Every day I get a different media request about the same issues and from the same people. It’s called harassment. He’s quit now. He needs to move on like I also moved on. I am now employed by the police and cannot continue to struggle with Mesuli and Brink in the pigsty,” Sibiya said.

President Da Gama said Daily Maverick he is surprised by the allegations and rejects the claim that he concealed information.

“A senior manager like Mesuli Mlandu should understand the differences between the processes for executive and legislative reporting to council meetings. The president’s private office received a report from Mlandu. The President took note of the contents of this report and that it had been copied to the office of the Director General. As this is an executive report, it is not up to the President of the Council, who is the head of the legislature, to submit this report to the Council.

Mayor Phalatse’s spokeswoman, Mabine Seabe, said: “As to the allegations made against the Executive Mayor, they are baseless. The SSA Director General issued a report clearing the city, GFIS and General Sibiya of any wrongdoing. DM

Melissa C. Keyes