5 scandals that have recently rocked the City of Cape Town

2018-01-10 17:57
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille (File, Netwerk24)

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille (File, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – Senior officials within the City of Cape Town's leadership, especially Mayor Patricia de Lille, have been through a rough five months with shocking allegations exposing deeply fractured relationships among them.

On Wednesday, the situation came to a head with the DA's Western Cape executive announcing that it wanted De Lille removed.

Here are five of the biggest scandals to have rocked the City of Cape Town over the past five months, and which led to Wednesday's developments:

1. Special investigations unit saga

In September, it emerged that De Lille had ordered the shutting down of the City of Cape Town's special investigations unit.

This unit was overseen by JP Smith, the city's mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services.

The move by De Lille to shut down the unit resulted in shocking claims. These included that some city councillors may have been involved in a murder and that building work done at her home at the city's expense may not have been legal.

READ: Murder, irregularity claims surface after De Lille 'shuts down' City of Cape Town investigative unit

These claims and rumours were contained in a submission Smith made about De Lille's order to have the unit shut down. In the submission, Smith did not directly make accusations against De Lille, but said the claims and rumours had been heard from others.

2. Smear campaign claim

In November, Smith said he believed he was the target of an extreme smear campaign which involved individuals apparently registering his details with substance abuse facilities so it appeared that he needed help for drug, alcohol and gambling addictions.

He said the smear campaign against him started on August 24.

The submission he had made about the closure of the special investigations unit, which included the claims against De Lille, was dated August 20.

Smith said he was not sure who was behind the alleged smear campaign.

3. The affidavit

Craig Kesson, the executive director in De Lille's office, made various allegations against her, including that she planned to publicly discredit a senior city staffer who questioned alleged tender irregularities, and asked that a report into a possible R43m loss related to another tender be made to "go away".

These allegations are contained in a 42-page affidavit by Kesson which the city made public in November.

READ: 'Bullying' De Lille wanted alleged tender irregularity report to 'go away' - executive director

This affidavit sparked a series of claims and counterclaims between De Lille and Kesson.

She reacted to it publicly and said his actions were not that of a whistleblower, but were criminal.

4. Independent investigation

Allegations against De Lille, as well as those against Kesson, are contained in a report based on an independent investigation by Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys.

This report, dated December 29, found that De Lille may be guilty of gross misconduct for allegedly advising city manager Achmat Ebrahim that he need not report to the city council an allegation of misconduct against Melissa Whitehead, the commissioner of the transport and urban development authority.

This related to alleged irregularities involving payments to Volvo for bus chassis.

The Bowman Gilfillan report said a forensic report presented prima facie evidence that "the commissioner (Whitehead) was involved in irregular expenditure in relation to payments in the aggregate amount of R43 801 807.06 made to Volvo for 29 bus chassis".

It also found that payments totalling R29 584 368 made to Scania for 24 bus chassis during June 2014 were irregular.

De Lille was seeking legal advice on the report because she said she had pointed out factual errors in it which had not been corrected.

5. De Lille - push for her removal and her fightback 

On Wednesday, the DA's Western Cape executive announced it wants De Lille to be removed. This followed months of allegations being levelled against her and other top city officials.

De Lille hit back at the regional executive on Wednesday saying: "This is yet another example of the flagrant disregard for process within the DA in their rush to get rid of me and make (DA Western Cape leader) Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela the next executive mayor," she said.

"It illustrates my previous position that these attacks on me have been about power and positions all along."

Read more on:    city of cape town  |  patricia de lille

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