The Democratic Alliance (DA) announced today that Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services Jean-Pierre (JP) Smith have been placed on “special leave”. This follows reports that the two were at loggerheads with each other.
The alleged fall out occurred after De Lille shut down the special investigations unit (SIU) which was headed by Smith.
On Monday, De Lille issued a statement saying that she was awaiting legal advice after Smith made “malicious and defamatory remarks” about her.
Smith claimed that “irregular” security upgrades were made to De Lille’s home, which she has since refuted.
“In the past week‚ various news articles have made reference to so-called ‘irregular’ security upgrades at my house done by a supplier appointed by the City [of Cape Town] following a risk analysis report by a special unit within the South African Police Service‚” she said.
On August 20, Smith had made a submission to DA leader Mmusi Maimane outlining his concerns about De Lille shutting down the City of Cape Town’s SIU, as well as the alleged “illegal” upgrades at her home which had, supposedly, not gone through the proper “procurement processes”.
De Lille hit back at this, saying that she has proof that the renovations were paid for by her.
Last night, Maimane called both De Lille and Smith to a special meeting to discuss these recent events and to account for their actions. As a result of that meeting, they have now both been placed on special leave “from DA activities in the Cape Town Metro until such time as a DA federal executive investigation can be concluded,” according to the party.
“Some time ago, the leader convened a special sub-committee of the DA’s federal executive in order to investigate the political management and governance situation in the City of Cape Town, and to report back to the full Fedex as to what further action is required. This sub-committee will be chaired by John Steenhuisen, and is scheduled to begin its hearings today, October 3 2017,” the DA’s spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said in a statement today.
Whilst being placed on special leave does not impede on their candidacy for provincial elected positions, they are not to, during the investigation, “attend DA caucus meetings, interact with caucus members or others who may testify before the committee or attend party meetings”.
They have both been asked to refrain from addressing the media until the investigation has been concluded.