De Lille hits out at JP Smith over 'malicious, defamatory remarks'

2017-10-02 17:33
Patricia de Lille (Netwerk24)

Patricia de Lille (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has hit out at mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith, accusing him of spreading "malicious and defamatory remarks" relating to upgrades at her home. 

In a statement on Monday, De Lille said she had briefed her lawyers who would advise her on “an appropriate course of action”.

“JP Smith wants to play cowboys and crooks by releasing all kinds of statements that the Metro Police is responsible for fighting crime,” De Lille said. 

“JP Smith is dragging my name through the mud for the sake of sensationalism.”

When approached for comment, Smith said simply, "I have been asked not to respond."

Smith did not say who in the DA asked him not to respond.

“The matter is now in the hands of the party,” he said.

On Friday, News24 reported that Mayor Patricia de Lille had in August clipped the wings of the city's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) by ordering that it be shut down.

Read the article here: City of Cape Town says its internal investigations unit went ‘rogue’

This move had rattled Smith who in August wrote to, among others, DA leader Mmusi Maimane, in an attempt to find out why De Lille was trying to shut down the unit.

Alleged irregularities

Smith said it could also be linked to rumours of alleged irregularities relating to building work at De Lille’s Pinelands home.

Read more here: Nothing irregular about work at De Lille's home - City of Cape Town

He also said restructuring that had happened within the city meant there was "reasonable suspicion" that, if corruption was detected, nothing would happen to De Lille.

"This has already been the concern to one particular whistleblower on corruption who works in the mayor's office and who claims that there is corruption in the office of the mayor and that procurement processes are not being followed," Smith wrote. De Lille, however, refuted the allegations, saying she paid for the renovations herself. 

“I am prepared to make the proof of these payments made by myself known as part of the proper legal processes,” she said. 

De Lille said she has spoken to Democratic Alliance leadership “reminding them that there is a separation between party and State and that this is an operational matter”.

She said she had expressed her dissatisfaction over Smith's conduct with Maimane and federal chairperson James Selfe. 

Four hours after the original statement, De Lille, however, retracted her remarks referencing DA party leaders. She said after consultation with party leadership she decided to retract the specific comments. 

DA spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme referred all inquiries to the City of Cape Town, saying this is an "operational matter".

De Lille's spokesperson Zara Nicholson wished not to comment whether Smith would remain a part of the city's mayoral committee. 

"The statement is the mayor's comment for now," Nicholson told News24.  

Read more on:    da  |  city of cape town  |  jp smith  |  patricia de lille  |  cape town  |  politics

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