Cape Town – The DA has announced that its federal executive has authorised a motion of no confidence in Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille.
This was because, for the first time in Cape Town's history, a council-mandated investigation was of the view that a sitting mayor had demonstrated behaviour which constituted gross misconduct.
These findings were supported by the Auditor-General downgrading the City of Cape Town's audit status from clean to unqualified, with conditions.
For months, De Lille has been the focus of several serious allegations and claims, many of which have been levelled at her by colleagues.
The ANC had tabled a motion of no confidence in De Lille, which the DA on Wednesday said its Federal Executive had authorised its caucus to support.
However, in a statement on Wednesday, the ANC said it now supported its Cape Town caucus’s position to instead withdraw the motion.
'DA wants to hijack ANC's motion of no confidence'
"The DA wants to opportunistically hijack the motion of no confidence brought by the ANC against De Lille to resolve their own internal squabbles over resources linked to the City’s water crisis," it said.
"Whilst Patricia De Lille is the face of a corrupt, dysfunctional municipality, as well as a weak, directionless Democratic Alliance at the City, she is but one cog of a bigger problem that is the DA and its patronage networks within the City."
On Wednesday, DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said the Auditor-General's latest findings on the City were untenable for the DA government, "especially when such a regression is the direct result of the conduct of the Mayor herself".
“This is wholly unacceptable and is not in line with the DA’s commitment to clean, open and accountable governance.”
'Failures of leadership'
Madikizela said the Auditor-General’s findings involved "failures of leadership at the first level of assurance, which includes the Executive Mayor, and the subsequent governance breakdown that flows from that".
He said the majority of the Auditor-General’s findings regarding finances related to the Transport and Urban Development Authority, which De Lille had publicly defended.
A report by independent investigators previously found that De Lille may be guilty of gross misconduct for allegedly advising former city manager Achmat Ebrahim that he need not report to the City council an allegation of misconduct against Melissa Whitehead - the commissioner of the transport and urban development authority - relating to alleged irregularities involving payments to Volvo for bus chassis.
On Wednesday, Madikizela said the Auditor-General had "found regression within the control environment as a result of poor leadership".
He said this related to De Lille, in that "poor consequence management of senior managers", namely Whitehead, had been displayed.
The Auditor-General had also found "poor leadership and degeneration of trust".
"This finding... directly correlates to the Executive Mayor’s failure to allow officials to do their jobs and follow the control procedures of the law and regulations, as confirmed in the testimony of the former City Manager in the independent investigation mandated by Council," Madikizela said.
He said De Lille had been removed from directing the City’s response to the drought crisis.
'De Lille contributed to public panic over drought'
"Her failure to manage this correctly and to communicate accurate information has played a material role in the current public panic and negatively impeded the City’s response to the current crisis," he said.
"She actively withheld information, misdirected officials, delayed budget decisions, interfered with project plans and undermined the rollout of augmentation projects as a result. Furthermore, she failed to push national government to fulfill its legal responsibilities – at the cost and risk to the residents of Cape Town. This is in of itself has posed a massive governance risk."