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Bobani accuses Trollip of illegally authorising Harper's R5 million golden handshake

Feb 12, 2018
Bobani accuses Trollip of illegally authorising Harper's R5 million golden handshake

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, has just authorised a R5 million golden handshake, without the power to do so, and the senior municipal official paid off may be back in his job soon, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) said in a statement on Sunday.

"On precautionary suspension since November 2016, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, Trevor Harper, had been officially suspended during a confidential Council session on February 23, 2017, pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing," said former Deputy Mayor and UDM Regional Chairperson, Mongameli Bobani.

"Harper had been accused of illegal payments in the amount of R34.6 million to Afrisec, for work on the controversial Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS). At the time, Trollip refused to divulge details, claiming confidentiality.

"During June last year, Harper was cleared of allegations of wrongdoing in a separate matter of R7.8 million paid to Erastyle for the development of an IPTS marketing strategy."

He added athat on the 6th of November, it was reported that Harper continued to draw his salary and that the metro had already paid him R2 million while the disciplinary process dragged on.

"At the time Harper’s attorney, Grant Howard, said that he had 'not heard a word from [the municipality] since June 30'. City Manager Johan Mettler, however, said that the city wanted to resolve the matter soonest and that 'there is no delay'," Bobani described.

"At the time, Harper was one of 15 municipal officials being paid to stay away from the office.

"I told the media at the time that the protracted processes amounted to fruitless expenditure. It has now come to my attention that Trollip offered Harper a golden handshake. This questionable arrangement is made more suspect by its makeup: remuneration for eight months, being the remainder of Harper’s current term; interest; and legal fees – costing taxpayers some R5 million. The deal is done and dusted; the settlement due on or before February 16."

He further said that Harper will then leave office officially by February 28.

"However, the executive mayor does not have the necessary powers to conclude a golden handshake! Senior managers, such as the CFO, are appointed by Council and all powers to manage their contracts and terms vest in Council alone.

"Moreover, it is this self-same Trollip who made a solemn promise during the 2016 local government elections campaign, sharing a stage with his leader, Mmusi Maimane, that a Democratic Alliance (DA) government will halt corruption and end golden handshakes," Bobani said.

"And then this: the honey on the cherry on the cream on the melktert on the Clemintina van der Walt ceramic – Harper has been invited to apply for the job from which he had just been golden parachuted! Full salary for lounging at home since November 2016, a golden handshake, and an opportunity to be appointed anew at a maximum salary of R2.1 million per annum!"

He said that it was quite breath-taking that the DA would display a mastery of double standards.

"Probably this remarkable guile by the masters of mass distraction is just an inevitable result of its apartheid legacy. We all already know the DA attitude of baasskap. Here now the DA also can claim that old Nat excuse – this is just a 'ligte mistykie' (a small error, as someone once referred to apartheid)," Bobani said.

"Woe be the city which carries the exalted name of the father of our nation. The DA needs be removed, and soon."