De Lille is talking 'nonsense' - DA federal council chair

2017-11-30 14:02
James Selfe (File, News24)

James Selfe (File, News24) (Tshidi Madia)

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Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance’s federal council chairperson, James Selfe, has labelled Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille’s claim that there are attempts within the party to undermine spatial integration as "nonsense".

Selfe issued a statement on Thursday relating to growing tensions within the City of Cape Town.

The tensions have resulted in serious allegations and counterclaims being made between some of the City’s most senior staffers.

Selfe said that, in June, the federal executive decided to launch an inquiry into "obvious political tensions" within the Cape Town caucus.

The inquiry, which has been concluded, involved looking into a slew of allegations, including ones of maladministration.

An independent investigation into the matter was also launched.

'Patently nonsense'

"One of the individuals implicated, Mayor De Lille, has suggested in her public communications that this investigation is an attempt to undermine the DA government's efforts to spatially integrate Cape Town’s communities," Selfe said.

"This is patently nonsense, as a basic reading of the documentation shows."

He said the efforts to integrate communities in Cape Town was a pledge in the DA's 2016 election manifesto.

"(It) is a commitment of the entire DA, not one person alone," Selfe said.

He said the matter was not one about factionalism in the caucus.

Deliberately crafted narratives

"Such narratives are being deliberately crafted to muddy the waters for the investigation," Selfe said.

"They are nothing more than purposeful misdirection, and should be seen as such."

Last Tuesday, the council held a special confidential meeting and unanimously resolved that the City’s audit and performance audit committee be instructed to appoint an independent investigator to probe allegations against the executive director in De Lille’s office, Craig Kesson, city manager Achmat Ebrahim and Melissa Whitehead, the commissioner of the transport and urban development authority.

Claims and counterclaims

Kesson wrote an affidavit, which became public on Tuesday last week, relating to this.

In it, he made various allegations against De Lille, including that she had planned to publicly discredit a senior City staffer, who questioned alleged tender irregularities, and asked that a report into a possible R43m loss regarding another tender be made to "go away".

On Wednesday, De Lille hit back at Kesson, saying he had provided false information under the guise of whistleblowing, which she said was a crime.

De Lille also said she believed Kesson had leaked information and claims against her to certain politicians, which "is suggestive of a political campaign".

Deadlines

On Thursday, Selfe said an outside investigator had been appointed to investigate the allegations against officials.

The investigator had until December 29 to conclude the probe. A full report would then be presented to the council.

Selfe said the council would meet next Tuesday to decide on the suspensions of the implicated officials.

The federal executive's enquiry into the matter, which has been concluded, was separate to the investigation.

Selfe said the DA viewed the matter as extremely serious.

"We will not allow any sullying of our record as the only party of clean government," he said.

"We will also take steps to ensure that this matter does not in any way disrupt the good work that the City of Cape Town is doing to alleviate the current water crisis, and that the City’s stated targets for new water augmentation are met."

Read more on:    da  |  city of cape town  |  patricia de lille  |  james selfe  |  cape town  |  politics  |  local government

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