De Lille 'must take ultimate political responsibility' - Maimane

2018-01-14 20:40
Patricia de Lille. (Netwerk24)

Patricia de Lille. (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – While Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille must "take ultimate political responsibility" for the serious allegations against her, the DA's Federal Executive Council (FedEx) decided in adherence of due process and De Lille's rights not to suspend her as mayor of Cape Town.

It is also for this reason that the party won't support the ANC's upcoming motion of no confidence in De Lille, said DA leader Mmusi Maimane when he briefed the media on the FedEx's decisions in the DA's headquarters in Cape Town early Sunday evening. 

READ: DA FedEx resolves to formally charge, investigate De Lille

The FedEx resolved that De Lille will be charged with alleged misconduct and investigated by the DA's Federal Legal Commission, to which she will be afforded an opportunity to present her case.

She remains mayor, but the duties to handle Cape Town's water crisis will be deferred to deputy mayor Ian Neilson and Mayoral Committee member for water, informal settlements and waste services, Councillor Xanthea Limberg. Furthermore, De Lille remains suspended from party activities.

Maimane said it was disappointing that De Lille did not display "a similar regard for the best interests of the party, or indeed a similar level of respect for due process, as evidenced by her making a number of misleading and often distortionary public statements throughout this process".

"In so doing she has compounded an already difficult situation and the party was thereby brought into disrepute," he said.

"Let us be clear that we reject, with absolute contempt, any claims that the concerns arising from the conduct of Mayor De Lille relate in any way to a disagreement over the need for spatial transformation in Cape Town."

He said the sub-committee lead by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, which included Gauteng Provincial Leader John Moodey, Free State Provincial Leader Patricia Kopane and Association of Democratic Alliance Councillors (ADAC) chairperson Karen Smith had to inquire into the growing divisions in the City of Cape Town DA caucus under De Lille's leadership, as well as a growing list of substantive complaints about the nature and style of her leadership. 

'A number of observations'

After several hearings and testimony from many councillors, De Lille was invited to appear before the committee, but she declined and communicated with the committee through her legal representatives. 

"The sub-committee made a number of observations that now need to be tested by the FLC," said Maimane.

The FedEx deliberated on the following aspects from the report:

-    Evidence of deep divisions within the caucus of the City of Cape Town, due to De Lille's particular leadership style which is overwhelmingly viewed as unnecessarily autocratic, divisive and misaligned to democratic principles of openness and tolerance. This created a "paralysing culture of fear" among councillors and officials. 

-    The organisational restructuring led by De Lille appears to have been used in certain instances to remove experienced officials in the city, with a view to replacing them with officials whose loyalty to De Lille was prized over all else.

-    Under De Lille's leadership key decision making structures had been stripped of powers and functions, seemingly with a view to centralising overwhelming power in the Mayor, undercutting the authority and democratically enshrined role of the Mayoral committee, portfolio committees and sub-councils.

-    It appears that the Mayor interfered with and manipulated appointments at a senior management level within the City and some of its entities. 

-    A growing sense of a loss of confidence by the caucus in De Lille's leadership. 

-    The claims made in a Protected Disclosure by Craig Kesson, the Executive Director in the Directorate of the Mayor, as it related to allegations of maladministration and serious governance irregularities, and the Mayor's alleged role therein.

"In particular, the Mayor's often irrational, autocratic and divisive leadership style was seen as especially problematic, and it was claimed she [would] often overstep the boundaries of her authority and personally direct operational decisions such as the specification, awarding and timing of tenders, in an ad-hoc and highly inappropriate fashion," said Maimane. 

'Alleged improper conduct'

Maimane said De Lille was again given an opportunity to respond, and her response was considered by the FedEx. 

"In its deliberations, the Federal Executive could not ignore the fact that for the first time in Cape Town's history, a Council-mandated independent investigation took the view that the sitting Mayor had demonstrated behavior and actions which, on the basis of extensive evidence before them (including the Mayor's own representations), prima facie constituted gross misconduct, gross dereliction of duty, and conduct that amounted to deceiving Council," said Maimane.

"Her alleged improper conduct includes, but is not limited to, actively obstructing remedial and disciplinary action being taken for losses from the MyCiti system which at this stage are conservatively estimated at R36m but could be far greater due to inherent problems with City systems and data preventing precise reconciliations while the Foreshore Freeway Project is potentially worth billions of rands."

"It is further particularly disturbing that the Mayor sought to personally target the officials who originally brought these allegations to the fore and tried to prevent an independent investigation from occurring." 

"The Mayor has at all times sought to defend not only her conduct but also that of the City Manager and the Commissioner for TDA, Melissa Whitehead. This despite the fact that these officials are currently the subject of a Council approved disciplinary and suspension processes."

The FedEx will request the Caucus to review the delegations in the City, to restore the proper decision-making authority and functioning of the Mayoral committee, Council committees and sub-councils.

The FedEx will deal with the matter of JP Smith later this week.

Smith, the City of Cape Town's mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services, made headline news in September when it surfaced that De Lille had ordered the shutting down of the city's special investigations unit (SIU).


This move by De Lille unearthed shocking claims that some city councillors may have been involved in a murder and that building done at her home may not have been legal.

Smith had overseen the SIU.

READ: EXCLUSIVE: I am the target of an extensive smear campaign - JP Smith

The charges against De Lille are:

That she is guilty of alleged misconduct in terms of the following sections of the Federal Constitution: deliberately acts in a way which impacts negatively on the image or performance of the Party; fails to carry out his or her duties and/or responsibilities according to standards set by the Federal Council of the Party or of the relevant Provincial or Regional Council, or to standards required by any statutory rules of conduct required by the public office he or she holds; brings the good name of the Party into disrepute or harms the interests of the Party; acts in a manner that is unreasonable and detrimental to internal co-operation within the Party; unreasonably fails to comply with or rejects decisions of the official formations of the Party;


•    acted in an improper and unlawful manner in respect of the appointment of Limia Essop to the Stadium Management Board by inter alia exercising her authority to finalise the shortlist of candidates to be interviewed in such a manner as to unduly benefit Ms Essop and consequently in an improper manner involving herself with the finalisation of selection and appointment of members of the Board ostensibly to ensure the appointment of Ms Essop.

•    acted in an improper manner, alternatively failed to exercise her duties as Executive Mayor while displaying sound judgment by failing and/or refusing to ensure that the performance of the incumbent Commissioner for the Transport Development Authority of the City of Cape Town, Ms Melissa Whitehead, and more specifically allegations of poor performance be properly investigated and taken into account before the appointment process that lead to the reappointment of Ms Whitehead.

•    failed to perform her duties and/or responsibilities according to the Finance Management Act and the Municipal Systems Act in that she failed and/or refused to report and properly account to the Council of the City of Cape Town regarding irregularities and financial losses reported to her in respect of the contract the City entered into regarding the operation of the MyCiti bus project.

•    failed to perform her duties and/or responsibilities according to standards set by the Federal Council of the Party and/or the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Municipal Systems Act in that she failed and/or refused to report and properly account to the Council of the City of Cape Town regarding irregularities with the Bid Evaluation process in respect of the so-called Foreshore Housing Project.

•    failed to perform her duties and/or responsibilities according to standards set by the Federal Council of the Party and/or the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Municipal Systems Act in that she failed and/or refused to take all reasonable remedial and corrective steps to ensure that the City of Cape Town performed its constitutional and statutory functions by refusing and/or failing to act in a reasonable and/or proper manner in respect of the financial losses incurred through the contract in respect of the MyCiti bus project, as well as the Volvo Chassis matter.

•    acted in an improper and/or abusive manner in providing leadership to the Caucus of the party in the City of Cape Town by, through her words and actions, intimidating and belittling caucus members who did not agree with her.

•    refused to accept an official decision of the party by informing the Caucus of the City of Cape Town, upon the election of JP Smith as deputy leader of the Caucus, that she refused to work with him.

Read more on:    da  |  patricia de lille

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