Premier candidate for the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng, Solly Msimanga, was interviewed by Eusebius McKaiser on 702 and Cape Talk on Tuesday morning, where he detailed his reasons for stepping down as Tshwane mayor.
According to Msimanga, there were “so-called service delivery protests” every time he left Tshwane, which interfered with his ability to campaign for the premiership.
WATCH: Our Gauteng Premier Candidate, @SollyMsimanga explaining the reasons for his resignation as a Mayor of Tshwane!
"Every time I would be out of Tshwane, there would be service delivery protests.
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) March 12, 2019
“Every time I would be out of Tshwane say, for instance in Soweto or Orlando, there would be so-called service delivery protests where nobody wants to talk to anybody except the mayor,” he said.
“Now you find you are not able to campaign,” he added, saying he was forced to go into “problem-solving” mode rather than “dealing with issues of campaigning”.
“And I said, do you want to continue this way and stand a chance of greatly failing or do you then ensure that we get someone who will be able to deal with the Tshwane issues on a permanent basis and I’ll be able to then concentrate on campaigning,” he continued.
Following an earlier version of this article, DA media officer Charity Moyo wrote to The Citizen, expressing the view that we had misunderstood Msimanga’s words.
“Msimanga was highlighting the challenges that he faced at the beginning of his Premier campaign. Msimanga stated that so-called service delivery protests were one of the challenges which he faced during this time. These protests were politically instigated as a way of disrupting his Premier campaign,” Moyo said.
“Msimanga did not resign as a result of these so-called service delivery protests but because he wanted to concentrate fully on his Premier campaign so as to bring change to people of Gauteng,” she continued.
Msimanga was sworn in as a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in February.
He had announced on Friday, January 18, that he was stepping down from the position of mayor to focus on his run for Gauteng premier.
There were, however, claims that Msimanga was pushed out of the city by the DA, citing unsatisfactory performance. In addition to that, Msimanga was recently at the centre of the multibillion-rand GladAfrica scandal and a scandal involving the hiring of unqualified staffers in his office.
Msimanga made his resignation official on the last day of January, stating he would leave his office on February 11.
Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe had received urgent requests from the ANC to debate a motion of no confidence against Msimanga but said she saw no point in the request as Msimanga was already on his way out.
Despite this, the ANC made it clear they intended to forge on with their request anyway, demanding that it be put to a vote alongside council business such as a notice of intention to suspend the city manager Moeketsi Mosola and a discussion on the AG report into the city of Tshwane.
After a chaotic council session during which water bottles were hurled at Msimanga after he made an unpopular comment about “bantu education“, Mathebe disallowed the motion of no confidence.
This meant Msimanga survived the third attempt at removing him through such a motion, only to vacate his post on Monday, February 11, as he had stated he would do in his resignation letter.
UPDATE: DA media officer Charity Moyo’s comments added 16:08, March 12.
(Additional reporting by Kaunda Selisho and Rorisang Kgosana)