De Lille's relevance questioned at commission

By Drum Digital
24 July 2014

The relevance of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille to the arms deal investigation has come under spotlight at the Seriti Commission.

The relevance of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille to the arms deal investigation has come under spotlight at the Seriti Commission in Pretoria this morning.

This is after the former PAC MP, who now leads Cape Town under the Democratic Alliance, repeatedly failed to provide any concrete evidence to back up her claims that there had been wrong-doing in the government’s multi-billion rand arms procurement contracts of the late 1990s.

De Lille caused controversy in 1999 when she publicised a dossier in Parliament naming ANC-linked individuals, who she alleged had unduly benefited from the arms deal.

Last week, former president Thabo Mbeki said he could not initiate any investigation into the arms deal as no one had brought up any evidence, and said rumours had been peddled for the past 16 years.

De Lille told the commission she had consulted a government lawyer who confirmed that her dossier, which she claims came from unnamed ANC MPs at the time, contained “prima facie” evidence of wrong-doing. However, Mbeki went on television the same day, and said the contrary.

“I can be asked,  why did you not give this to a minister or to President Mbeki who is looking for this evidence to investigate. You can’t give evidence like this or these allegations to the people who are implicated. You can’t ask them to investigate themselves.

“That’s why out of desperation, I tended to follow the normal due course…that is to go to a police station and lay a charge,” she said.

De Lille stressed that the allegations were not necessarily proof that the people she named—like Max Sisulu and Jayendra Naidoo— were guilty.  She merely wanted them to be to be probed, she said.

She also suggested that officials had lied to the politicians about the 65 000 jobs they said would be created as a spin-off from the arms deal. However, evidence leader Advocate Simmy Lebala told her that evidence had already been led about the job creations from the off-sets.

Judge Willie Seriti, who worked with De Lille in the PAC in the past, asked what purpose was served by  interviewing the Cape Town mayor when she presented no proof to back up her allegations.

“How would she help us determine who was corrupt and by who was the person corrupted,” he said.

Lebala said this need to be done as De Lille’s statement would have consequences.

The cross-examination continues this afternoon.

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