Guest Column

DA has never shied away from holding De Lille to account

2018-10-25 08:39
Executive Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille speaks in a media briefing at Ray Alexander boardroom, Civic Centre in Cape Town. (Ashley Vlotman, Gallo Images, file)

Executive Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille speaks in a media briefing at Ray Alexander boardroom, Civic Centre in Cape Town. (Ashley Vlotman, Gallo Images, file)

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Mmusi Maimane

News24 editor Adriaan Basson has misunderstood the facts in the De Lille matter, and has relied on that error to punt a particular narrative that is wrong and damaging.

Let me be clear: the DA's agreement with mayor Patricia De Lille only related to our internal DA investigation into her alleged misconduct. It did not obstruct or in any way impact upon the external forensic investigation by independent legal firm Bowman Gilfillan which was commissioned by the Cape Town City Council. Nor did it impede any other investigation being carried out.

My press release (5 August 2018) explicitly stated as much: "The DA has taken a decision to withdraw all internal disciplinary charges against Patricia de Lille. Any other investigations by the City are not covered by this agreement." For her part, De Lille "agreed to resign the office of Mayor, effective 31 October 2018".

The agreement was made in good faith by the DA and purely with the best interests of the people of Cape Town in mind, because it achieved the outcome of a new leadership team in the City and allowed the independent investigation to continue.

Once again, I made this clear in my press statement: "I am confident that this outcome is in the best interests of the people of Cape Town… This is an opportunity for the City of Cape Town DA caucus to take stock, to regroup and to unite."

The agreement effectively left it to the Bowman Gilfillan investigation to determine the facts and make recommendations. Their final report was leaked in the media this week and it appears to vindicate the DA's original decision completely. (According to Sowetan Live, it advises that criminal charges should be considered against her and several other officials.)

The DA takes a zero-tolerance approach to even the whiff of corruption and is committed to building a capable state that can deliver to all. We dropped our internal charges trusting that the external forensic investigation would get to the heart of the matter. I stand by our decision to do so, because it has enabled Cape Town's councillors to re-focus on their role, which is to serve the people of Cape Town.

There is nothing stopping the City of Cape Town from now taking the advice of the Bowman Gilfillan report and implementing its recommendations, including potential criminal charges against all implicated. So, it was simply wrong of Mr Basson to imply that our agreement let De Lille off the legal hook. It certainly did not. A familiarity with the facts, or a reading of the public record, would have made this clear.

Mr Basson should have worked out by now that the ANC and EFF are irredeemably corrupt parties punting failed ideology. The DA is South Africa's only hope. We are committed to a free press. We do not ask for him to show us any preference. We merely ask him to get his facts straight.

- Maimane is leader of the DA.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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