CT stadium director says she will resign if nepotism claim is proven

2018-01-16 17:18
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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Cape Town  - A non-executive director of Cape Town stadium, named in a high-level DA investigation into Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille, said on Tuesday that she would resign should allegations that the mayor influenced her appointment be proven true.

Limia Essop, who is on the Stadium Management Board, is alleged to have been included, by De Lille, during the shortlisting process.

The DA's report - compiled by chief whip John Steenhuisen, MP Patricia Kopane, Gauteng leader John Moodey and councillor Karen Smith – forms the basis of the party leadership's decision at the weekend to discipline De Lille for misconduct.

De Lille has vowed to clear her name.

UNPACKED: The 8 main accusations against De Lille

According to the report, this was problematic because Essop "appears to be the daughter of a close friend of the mayor's of long standing".

The motivation for her making the shortlist was her "so-called 'legal experience'", which the report said was "farcical because, at the time of the interviews, Ms Essop was still completing her legal qualification".

News24 reported that Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson halted Essop's appointment. When De Lille confronted him about this, she said she was expanding the board, which the report said appeared to have been done specifically to accommodate Essop.

'I met the requirements'

Essop said in a statement that her reputation had been "significantly damaged" by the claims, for which she was taking legal advice.

"Should the allegations that I was given preference during the selection process prove correct, I will be deeply hurt and offended. I believed (and still do) that my qualifications, strong marketing experience, and fresh thinking that I bring to the board were the reasons I was appointed," she said.

"I do not agree with influencing a process to benefit an individual to the detriment of others. Should the allegations prove that this is what happened, I will tender my resignation."

She said the advertisement called for applicants with general facility and operations management, events and entertainment services management, strategic marketing and hospitality management, finance and/or auditing, legal services, human resources and business risk management qualifications to apply.

"I have an undergraduate degree in politics and public policy and administration from UCT, a postgraduate diploma in marketing and advertising from Red & Yellow School, and I am completing my LLB through Unisa.

"I have strong marketing experience, as well as some events and finance experience. I am currently a candidate attorney. As such, I have many of the qualifications required for the application," Essop said.

"When I applied for the position on 7 May 2017, I was working for my family's property development company, New Age Properties, which worked with the City in 2009, under the previous mayor, and no work has been done with the City since then."

She said she was not aware that De Lille had any involvement in the shortlisting or appointment process and that, to her knowledge, all candidates for the position went through the same process which culminated in six candidates' appointment to the board in November.

"I believe I was appointed because I met the requirements they were looking for - young, dynamic, qualified, with relevant work experience that could assist the City in turning the stadium into a profit-generating business. 

"I am one of two females on the board of six, and one of four 'people of colour'. Yes, I am the youngest board member at age 31, but I am well qualified for the position and the requirements of the role."

Read more on:    da  |  patricia de lille

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