The Democratic Alliance (DA) has thrown its weight behind Tshwane mayor Randal Williams, following allegations of his involvement in an “unsolicited” R26 billion tender with an Australian energy company.
In a leaked audio, which The Citizen is in possession of, Williams can be heard directing officials on how the tender should be handled.
The multibillion-rand project aimed to maintain and operate the Pretoria West and Rooiwal power substations to self-generate 800MW of electricity for the city – a move the DA said was aimed at ending the metro’s power woes.
The DA’s coalition partner, ActionSA, has since accused the mayor of undue political influence to have the bid approved, despite officials raising concerns of possible flawed supply chain management (SCM) processes in the deal. The opposition parties, the Economic Freedom Fighters and the ANC, had labelled Williams’ involvement as “corrupt”.
In Williams’ defence, DA’s Gauteng provincial leader Solly Msimanga said ActionSA had not been supporting the DA mayors and had been having issues with them.
Msimanga accused ActionSA of wanting to ensure they had their mayors, instead of the mayors agreed upon by the coalition partners. Msimanga said he did not think the coalition was being divided – however, questions needed to be asked in ActionSA’s national level.
“We need to be asking questions of [party leader] Herman Mashaba because the party’s local guys were in agreement of the process that had been followed. All of a sudden, when it has to go to council, the national leadership has a problem with the whole thing.”
Msimanga said a proposal came from a number of companies who were interested in those stations, as the city had not used them for a while.
“We are confident the mayor has done nothing wrong. As far as all the coalition partners are concerned, we stick by the mayor as he has done nothing wrong. We are firmly behind the mayor,” he said.
ActionSA provincial chair Bongani Baloyi said the coalition with the DA had been stable. However, their problem was Williams. Baloyi said his party would never defend corruption and they were of the view “the process the mayor is trying to do is illegal”, which is why they were “fighting it”.
“We are having a provincial executive committee meeting (PEC) on Saturday to determine the cause of action from the PEC. We cannot allow the mayor to continue doing what he wants to do.”
Baloyi said critics had said the party only cared about being in power, but then the party would have kept quiet about the allegations.
“We took an unprecedented step and showed what this issue is. We are the ones who are speaking about this thing.”
When asked if he supported calls for the mayor to be removed, Baloyi said Williams’ time as a mayor was coming to an end. Political analyst Xoloni Dube said the row was about personal egos and had little to do with the principles of anticorruption.
“This questions the moral capacity of all politicians, regardless of which political party. The DA is not different from the ANC.”
Dube said coalitions would only work in a country where there are common values, common interpretation, ethical leadership and common agenda.
“In Johannesburg, there were allegations of the EFF and ActionSA corruption. In Tshwane, there were allegations of EFF and DA corruption during the Glad Africa saga. We have normalised corruption and those who claim to be fighting corruption are not fighting it,” he said.
Removing Williams in Tshwane will not help as corruption in the country is entrenched, Dube claimed.