Corruption and confusion: DA stands firm on criminal probe into Patricia de Lille and co

2018-10-25 20:49
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. (Gallo Images, file)

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. (Gallo Images, file)

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Two separate reports, compiled by law firm Bowmans, has sealed the fate of embattled Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille as the DA pushes for her to be criminally investigated.

Top stories on the De Lille saga:


De Lille and co will be the subject of a criminal investigation

Outgoing Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille will be the subject of a criminal investigation.

This after the council of the City of Cape Town adopted the recommendation of two reports into alleged corruption and maladministration at the City - compiled by law firm Bowmans - in a closed meeting on Thursday late afternoon. 

DA leader in the Cape Town metro Grant Twigg confirmed that the council adopted the recommendations to institute disciplinary steps against De Lille and other councillors and officials implicated in the reports, and that this included criminal investigations.

Confusion

There was much confusion since the two reports were leaked in the past week. Initially, it was reported that the one report's recommendations exonerated De Lille, while the other did not.

The one report states that De Lille didn't have the obligation to report alleged corruption, while the other report stated that she did.

The Local Government Municipal Systems Act requires that "any allegation of misconduct against a senior manager must be brought to the attention of the municipal council", this allegation "must be tabled by the mayor or the municipal manager, as the case may be, before the municipal council not later than 7 days after receipt thereof, failing which the mayor may request the Speaker to convene a special council meeting within 7 days to consider the said report".

The Municipal Systems Act's disciplinary regulations and the Financial Misconduct Regulations do not give the mayor or City manager any discretion in bringing alleged corruption to the council's attention. 

Twigg explained that the one report was to determine whether De Lille influenced the City manager, the other was more general, focusing on several instances of alleged corruption and maladministration.

According to the report, which News24 has seen, it is alleged that De Lille halted heritage protection in Cape Town's colourful Bo-Kaap neighbourhood and irregular tender procedures for electric buses with a Chinese company called BYD, and another tender involving buses, among several other allegations.

Twigg confirmed that both reports' recommendations have been adopted by council.

Deputy chairperson of the DA's federal council Thomas Walters said the DA's deal with De Lille – that she resigns as mayor effective November 1 and they withdraw their internal disciplinary steps against her – did not include disciplinary steps that could follow from the Bowmans reports. 

He said they retained the right to institute further steps if new information came to light.

Counter-attack

De Lille consistently dismissed the allegations against her as a smear campaign and said she would welcome an investigation. 

At the start of the meeting, she launched a counter-attack in her address to council, often emphasising points with an extended finger in the style of PW Botha.

"I have been fighting corruption all my life and I will not allow my good name to be smeared," De Lille said.

She also decried the leaking of the confidential Bowmans report into corruption and maladministration.

"It is grossly unacceptable that councillors would leak information with malicious intent to injure my name. But this is nothing new," she said.

"I have suffered vicious attacks to my good name for more than a year and still people are intent on destroying me."

She said she would welcome any investigation and described the allegations against her as "racist bully attacks".

On Wednesday, she released a statement questioning the credibility of Bowmans.

'I am shocked'

Also implicated in the reports is Mayco member Brett Herron.

But he released a statement on Thursday, rejecting the allegations against him.

"I am shocked by the Bowmans report. It is irrational and makes adverse findings without proper consideration of the evidence, and without giving me the opportunity to address questions they conclude are 'inexplicable'," he said.

"I attended two interviews with them. I would have attended a dozen more if they had asked. Given my availability to meet with them, and answer any question they may have had, it is unacceptable to conclude that in some respects I have failed to adequately explain myself – when they haven't asked me to do so."

"I totally reject the conclusions reached by Bowmans as irrational, baseless and unsubstantiated by their own findings of fact and I am left with no option but to conclude that there is something deeply flawed and suspicious about this investigation and the concluding reports."

He said the appointment of Bowmans for the investigation did not itself follow usual procurement processes.

Earlier in the day, after De Lille's address, chief whip Shaun August rose to announce that he was resigning as chief whip and DA councillor. 

Suzette Little, Siya Mamkeli, Greg Bernardo and Thulani Stemele followed suit. Addressing the media after their exit from the boardroom, they accused the DA of racism.

The DA's leadership rejected this notion, with Twigg pointing out that the caucus never received complaints of racism against its members, and questioning why they left the party just before corruption was to be discussed.

'DA is not going to play that game'

Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said they wished them well on their future endeavours, but said they would have preferred that they stay in the party.

"Their decision must be respected."

Amid speculation that she would renege on her deal with the DA to resign effective November 1, ACDP councillor Grant Haskin asked De Lille directly if this would be the case in the question session after her address. 

She answered that he is not her shop steward and it was none of his business.

Walters said after the meeting that the country went through a "very traumatic" experience with former president Jacob Zuma clinging to power.

"The DA is not going to play that game."

Read more on:    da  |  patricia de lille  |  cape town

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