BREAKING: City of Cape Town transport head Melissa Whitehead suspended

2018-01-19 12:14
ANC members walk out during a City of Cape Town council meeting. (Paul Herman, News24)

ANC members walk out during a City of Cape Town council meeting. (Paul Herman, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - A senior transport head in the City of Cape Town has been suspended as a result of the alleged covering up of irregularities in which embattled Mayor Patricia de Lille is implicated.

Council members met for a special sitting on Friday to discuss, among other things, allegations of fraud and tender irregularities levelled against Whitehead and De Lille, as well as the water crisis.

During a closed session, the council voted to place Whitehead on precautionary suspension pending an investigation into her conduct, News24 has learnt. De Lille remains in her job for now.

The embattled mayor began an opening address on Cape Town's proposed water levy at 12:00 on Friday, just after ANC councillors decided to walk out of the briefing.

"We are taking a principled decision," ANC councillor Xolani Sotashe said.

They returned after her speech finished.

About a week ago the Cape Town city council decided that Whitehead and City manager Achmat Ebrahim be charged.

During the confidential council meeting, an investigation into De Lille was ordered following allegations that she prevented Ebrahim from reporting allegations against Whitehead to the council.

Both Ebrahim and Whitehead were given until last Friday to submit reasons as to why they should not be suspended.

However, Ebrahim resigned last Friday.

Independent investigation

Previously, during a special confidential council meeting, it was ordered that independent investigators probe allegations levelled against, among others, De Lille, Ebrahim and Whitehead.

Independent investigators from Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys had done so and compiled a report on what they had found.

This report, which the City of Cape Town has kept confidential, found she may be guilty of gross misconduct for allegedly advising Ebrahim that he need not report to the City council an allegation of misconduct against Whitehead.

READ: The DA's scathing findings against De Lille

READ: The 8 main accusations against De Lille

These allegations related to alleged irregularities involving payments to the companies Volvo and Scania 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.

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

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.