DA slams De Lille after review of Steenhuisen report postponed

2018-06-28 17:59
Natasha Mazzone. (Netwerk24)

Natasha Mazzone. (Netwerk24)

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The DA has slammed Patricia de Lille for what it claims were "untruths" following the postponement of her application to review an internal party report into her conduct.

De Lille wanted to ask the court on Thursday to compel the DA to submit evidence used in formulating the report, which was compiled by a party subcommittee chaired by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen.

The matter has now been postponed to November 1 after it was placed on the opposed roll.

De Lille said on Thursday that she had been asking for specific evidence to be provided to the court, including an SMS she allegedly sent to councillor Xanthea Limberg requesting that a high mark be scored for then city manager Achmat Ebrahim.

READ MORE: De Lille's review of Steenhuisen report postponed to November

DA deputy federal council chairperson Natasha Mazzone on Thursday said De Lille was provided with a copy of the Steenhuisen report in December, and that the DA was protecting the names of whistleblowers.

"Repeated claims by Ms Patricia de Lille that she was never provided with a copy of the 'Steenhuisen' report are simply untrue.

"The report was sent to her on 11 December 2017 at 08:05 and she responded to the DA on 13 December 2017 at 08:01. It is, therefore, a blatant untruth that she has not been provided with a copy of it."

De Lille, however, did not tell reporters on Thursday that she had not received the report. Rather, she wanted the evidence that informed the report, including names of people who testified against her.

'Whistleblowers protected from intimidation'

With regards to whistleblowers, Mazzone said: "Ms de Lille has also repeatedly stated that she wants the names of the whistleblowers who gave testimony at the inquiry.

"The DA is of the opinion that these individuals are protected under the Protected Disclosures Amendment Act, which seeks to prevent any intimidation.

"This is vital as Ms de Lille has already publicly attacked and sought to intimidate two whistleblowers in the City of Cape Town," she claimed.

Mazzone also slammed De Lille for suggesting the party missed the deadline to submit its answering affidavit. De Lille had asked the party to file the affidavit by June 18.

"What she has conveniently omitted is that the deadline she refers to is the one set by herself, by when she wanted the DA to submit this affidavit. 

"The High Court uniform Rules provide that an affidavit must be lodged within 20 days. She demanded that we submit the affidavit within four court days. We filed within eleven days, well within the limit."

She said they had continuously "reminded her" of the rules and that her application must be postponed to the opposed roll like any other matter.

"Again, she chose to ignore the court rules and process. Only this morning she agreed with us despite our team writing to her as many as three times before today."

Steenhuisen report findings 'can't be taken lightly'

Mazzone also defended the findings in the internal report compiled by a DA subcommittee that included Gauteng leader John Moodey, Free State leader Patricia Kopane and councillor Karen Smith.

"The findings of the inquiry cannot be taken lightly and found that Ms De Lille has failed in her duties and responsibilities, has brought the Party into disrepute and her actions were detrimental to internal cooperation within the party."

These included evidence of deep divisions within the caucus of the City of Cape Town under De Lille's "leadership style", removal of experienced officials, decision-making structures that had been stripped of powers, among other findings.

The report also claimed De Lille interfered with and manipulated appointments at senior management level within the City and some of its entities.

"It is most unfortunate that Ms de Lille continues to put her own interests [above those of] the people of Cape Town.

"Despite this, the DA will continue to prioritise the people of Cape Town and to deliver services and clean governance."

'Difficult to defend myself'

De Lille told journalists outside the Western Cape High Court on Thursday that it had become "very difficult" to defend herself without having access to the evidence.

READ: De Lille's review of Steenhuisen report postponed to November

"The DA has refused to provide the full record, contending that it is not obliged to provide the documents because it was an internal, preliminary investigation by a private body," she said, citing a DA responding affidavit filed on Wednesday afternoon.

"The DA also claims that the evidence is 'confidential'.

"This is difficult to understand because the DA constantly and publicly challenges me to deal with the findings of the Steenhuisen report and yet, in the court case, they wish to keep the evidence that the Steenhuisen committee considered a secret."

She acknowledged that she was given the opportunity to respond to the allegations, but claimed she was "never given the evidence presented to the Steenhuisen subcommittee", nor the source or context of any of the allegations.

De Lille said she wanted all the evidence, including the alleged damning SMS she is said to have sent to councillor Limberg.

She was also frustrated because the DA only filed its responding affidavit on Wednesday when it was asked to do so by June 18.

"This is less than 24 hours before the matter had to be heard and it was insufficient time for my lawyers to draft my reply thereto and for the judge to read the papers.

"Unfortunately, because of this, the matter will have to be postponed to a later date. It will also have to be moved to the opposed roll to be argued."

She was hopeful that the party would comply before the new November 1 date, so she could prepare her case, she added.

Read more on:    da  |  john steenhuisen  |  natasha mazzone  |  patricia de ­lille

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