The axe to fall on De Lille

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille could be gone from office as early as next Sunday – and what happens to her is out of her hands.

The DA’s federal executive will meet on Sunday to consider its request to De Lille on why she should not resign as mayor and on her submission to this effect.

This is the same structure which decided last month that De Lille should be placed on suspension, relating to party activities.

Chairperson of the DA Federal Council James Selfe confirmed yesterday that the embattled mayor made her submissions to the party. These would be considered at the federal executive meeting.

A decision will be made, despite ongoing investigations by the city.

“Our inclination is not whether the mayor has done any right or wrong, that’s not the issue. The issue that the federal executive has to decide is whether the DA has confidence in her and her ability to run the city and to manage the caucus. That’s a different judgment,” said Selfe.

In terms of the party’s procedures a municipal mayor or other office bearer may be asked to resign following due process, he said.

“We have followed due process and, if we decide that she is required to resign, we will inform her accordingly.

"If she refuses to do so, we will have to instruct the city of Cape Town caucus to support the motion of no confidence in her.”

Selfe wouldn’t say whether the DA would support the motion of no confidence already brought by the ANC. That decision will be made at Sunday’s meeting.

De Lille submitted her reasons to the party on Friday. Selfe described them as “very bulky”, comprising five lever arch files.

The city convened a special meeting on Friday, behind closed doors, in which it was decided that De Lille be investigated for allegedly covering up for senior officials in the administration.

Whistle-blowers and the ANC in Cape Town had previously accused De Lille of covering up corruption and not acting on several investigations by the city internal audit committee.

The council resolved to institute disciplinary proceedings against city manager Achmat Ebrahim and transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead, who is accused of tender irregularities involving the MyCiti bus system.

De Lille is accused of blocking an investigation into Whitehead and covering up for her.

Whitehead was given seven days to provide reasons why she should not be suspended.

This followed consideration by the council of a report by law firm Bowman Gilfillan, which has been asked to investigate more allegations of corruption in the transport authority.

Although she welcomed further investigations as agreed to by the council, De Lille challenged the Bowman Gilfillan report, saying there were a number of material factual errors upon which the law firm consequently made highly prejudicial “findings”, “conclusions” and “recommendations”.

De Lille said she felt she had been unfairly and unnecessarily defamed and embarrassed by the report and believed Bowman Gilfillan’s refusal to correct a false finding, or to even consider that the firm might have made an error, to be unreasonable. She would take legal advice in this regard, she said on Friday evening.

The DA asked De Lille last month to supply reasons she should not resign as Cape Town mayor after it found a series of reports and an affidavit containing troubling allegations of maladministration in the city.

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