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Masina’s speechwriter Malaika Mahlatsi suspended over policy breaches

The Ekurhuleni mayor’s office on Tuesday said that Malaika Mahlatsi would be placed on suspension with full pay while an internal investigation was under way.

FILE: Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina. Picture: @mzwandileMasina/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina’s speechwriter, Malaika Mahlatsi, has been issued with a notice of intention to suspend her employment for allegedly breaching municipal legalisation and the city’s social media policy.

Mahlatsi, who's also a well-known author and political commentator known by her pen name Malaika wa Azania, will be placed on suspension with full pay while an internal investigation is under way.

In a statement, the mayor’s spokesperson Phakamile Mbengashe said they had noted with great concern the circulation of an alleged audio recording of Mahlatsi on social media, in which she claimed that Masina had decreased the salaries of staff members in the municipality without consultation.

Mbengashe said these claims were “untrue and devoid of factuality”.

“The Executive Mayor, upon deciding to donate 33% of his salary to the Solidarity Fund, consulted the Speaker of Council, Chief Whip, Members of the Mayoral Committee, the City Manager, the Group Chief Financial Officer and, all Heads of Department to encourage them to join himself and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to contribute to the fund.

“The above mentioned elected public representatives and officials, signed pledge forms authorising the City’s Department of Human Resources to deduct a portion of their salaries and redirect the donations to the Solidarity Fund. The Executive Mayor has no authority to decrease the salaries of municipal staff,” the statement read.

On allegations that Mahlatsi was “doing” a PhD on behalf Masina, Mbengashe said they were also false.

Mbengashe said the mayor was currently in the early stage of preparing his research proposal for a Doctoral Degree in Philosophy.

“At no point has any individual authored or contributed to the contents of the research proposal, including anyone who was reviewing or proofreading the material.

“The Executive Mayor has and continues to adhere to the student code of conduct of the institution,” he said.

In a public statement, Mahlatsi has denied the claims against her made by her former lover Katlego Mamabolo.