18 January 2019

South Africa: Solly Msimanga to Step Down As Tshwane Mayor

The City of Tshwane's first citizen, Solly Msimanga, will on Friday announce a decision to step down as mayor.

News24 understands the DA Gauteng premier candidate's tenure will end in February, after which he will commit more time to his campaign for the provincial office.

It is expected that the speaker of council, Katlego Mathebe, will take over from Msimanga as mayor.

Msimanga took over as mayor in 2016 through a coalition government after the municipal elections that did not produce an outright victor in the City. The coalition and working relationship between the DA and the EFF resulted in an ANC government that was riddled with in-fighting being kicked out of power and onto the city council's opposition benches - for the first time since the dawn of democracy.

However, Msimanga has been feeling the heat from community members, opposition parties and even from members of his own caucus who have grown unhappy and have expressed a lack of faith in his leadership skills.

The ANC in Tshwane and its leader, Kgosi Maepa, have been calling for Msimanga's removal for several months amid the mayor's running battles with city manager Moeketsi Mosola over the multibillion-rand GladAfrica contract scandal.

Msimanga has also been accused of making a number of improper appointments, including those of his chief of staff and spokesperson, while the EFF, which is in a partnership with the DA in Tshwane, had previously attempted to get rid of Msimanga through a motion of no confidence.

Msimanga and the DA are expected to use the upcoming polls as the reason for the development. Some have accused the party of seeing him as a liability and wanting to conveniently remove him from difficult Tshwane politics.

He was initially expected to step down at the end of last year, but News24 understands both Msimanga and December commitments got in the way.

Last year DA leader Mmusi Maimane and federal executive chairperson James Selfe confirmed that various conversations had taken place around Msimanga's continued stay as mayor, with Selfe admitting he had thought it ideal for the Tshwane mayor to step down while on the campaign trail.

There has been no indication about whether stepping down would mean that Msimanga would join the Gauteng legislature should he lose out on the premier position or that he would return to Tshwane as mayor.

Source: News24

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