City's water reports to DA 'irregular' and 'contradictory' – federal chair

2018-01-16 18:45
James Selfe. (Tshidi Madia, News24)

James Selfe. (Tshidi Madia, News24)

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Cape Town – Water updates or "reports" from the office of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille to the Democratic Alliance (DA) have been "irregular" and "contradictory", the party's federal chairperson James Selfe said on Tuesday afternoon.

With an apparent 95 days to go until the city reaches Day Zero, Selfe's comments cast doubt over the reliability of City's drought crisis communication and the progress made in its water augmentation schemes.

In a telephonic interview with News24, Selfe said the DA requires regular updates from the City's water crisis committee, which have not always been provided.

Contradictory and confusing

"I'm saying the reports seem to have ... things that didn't make sense," Selfe explained.

"The reports that we have received are difficult to understand and seemingly, in places, contradictory.

"We are [therefore] not able to form a picture of what exactly is transpiring and that is what we want to correct as a matter of urgency."

De Lille, however, hit back and said she has been submitting reports punctually since the party requested it, from October 20, 2017.

"There were seven written and verbal reports submitted to the party and, if the content was deemed irregular, the party had the opportunity to question this. But they never did," De Lille told News24 via text message.

In his interview with News24, Selfe said the party has also been meeting with De Lille to try to convince her to voluntarily hand over her role in managing the drought crisis to Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson and mayoral committee member for water, informal settlements and waste services, Xanthea Limberg.

This followed a DA federal executive decision on Sunday, which resolved that De Lille's "role in managing and directing the City's response to the prolonged drought" be ended.

Concern over probes

"Nevermind what she's done in the past, at the moment she's facing two sets of inquiries. One from the party and one from the council, and I think it's only fair to allow her the space to prepare for those investigations," Selfe explained. 

He said De Lille had, however, been opposed to relinquishing her duties dealing with the ongoing water crisis.

"I think it's absolutely crucial that whoever is in charge of the water crisis in Cape Town, can give it single-minded laser-like focus because I don't think there's any other crisis as big as that one," Selfe said. 

REVEALED: The DA's scathing findings against power-drunk De Lille

The DA's Federal Legal Commission has been asked to formally investigate De Lille for, among others, bringing the party into disrepute and acting in a manner that was detrimental to internal co-operation in the party.

She is at the centre of a series of corruption allegations, which include allegedly covering up losses linked to the MyCiTi bus system and unduly influencing City appointment committees.

In one instance, De Lille allegedly sent text messages to members of the City's selection panel, shortlisting candidates for City manager, which read: "I want to keep Achmat [Ebrahim] so score him highest. Thanks."

Ebrahim, who served as City of Cape Town manager for the past 12 years, resigned on Friday – the same day he was meant to provide to the City council reasons as to why he should not be suspended.

Read more on:    da  |  cape town  |  drought  |  water crisis

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