Action follows alleged involvement in CCTV camera saga
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality confirmed yesterday that it had suspended a second senior person – legal services official Nobuntu Mgogoshe. She is now the second person to face disciplinary action since the new DA-led coalition took control of the Bay in August.
Supply chain official Sox Nkanjeni, who had been on suspension since May last year, was fired last month. He was dismissed for misconduct. Acting city manager Johann Mettler yesterday confirmed Mgogoshe’s suspension.
This follows her alleged involvement in the R92.4-million payments to security company Afrisec Strategic Solutions.
She gave legal advice to chief financial officer Trevor Harper, who authorised the payment of R35-million for services rendered by Afrisec.
Afrisec was paid for CCTV cameras for the IPTS bus system. The metro said the payments were irregular and unlawful as there was no legal contract in place.
Mgogoshe confirmed her suspension and that it was related to the Afrisec payments, but said there were no grounds for it.
Mettler would not give details about the suspension, saying only it was a matter between the employer and the employee.
“Ms Mgogoshe was suspended on November 10 and a disciplinary process will follow,” he said.
Mgogoshe lashed out at the metro over her suspension.
“It is nonsense. They are trying to cover their own backs. I gave legal opinion on information that was at my disposal,” she said.
“In my view, there are no grounds for this suspension. They already sued me, why suspend me? This happened two years ago.”
She said her actions were guided by the Municipal Finance Management Act.
“Legal opinion is legal opinion. I acted based on information given to me. There was proof that services were rendered and I gave an opinion on that,” Mgogoshe said.
She said she would go to the disciplinary hearing as she had done nothing wrong.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the municipality was suing Afrisec and seven of the city’s current and former senior staff in the hope of recouping the R92.4-million spent on the CCTV cameras.
The municipality believes the payments, ultimately approved by suspended corporate services boss Mod Ndoyana between November 2013 and September 2014, were irregular and unlawful as there was no legal contract in place.
It wants the Port Elizabeth High Court to hold Afrisec and the other seven people liable for the nine payments over the 10-month period.
The seven metro staff who are listed as defendants are Ndoyana, Harper, Nkanjeni, Mgogoshe, former IPTS boss Mhleli Tshamase and former municipal facilities directors Patrick Keble and Armien Madatt.
The city believes that Afrisec was “commensurately unjustifiably enriched” by the municipality and is liable to pay back the R92.4-million.
It claims the only binding document between the city and Afrisec was a letter from the municipality in July 2012, accepting Afrisec’s tender for the supply and installation of CCTV cameras and other security for municipal buildings.
The tender was for three years, capped at R5-million.
The municipality said no formal contract had ever been signed.
All eight defendants have denied any wrongdoing.
Mettler said yesterday the city was still dealing with other cases, but that these were still sub judice.
“It is the council that runs those processes,” he said.
“Until the council has expressed itself on the matters, we cannot discuss them.”
Last month, mayor Athol Trollip said the municipality was working hard to finalise suspensions and investigations, but that it was a difficult job.