De Lille accuses DA of delaying court challenge to Steenhuisen report

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. (Paul Herman, News24)
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. (Paul Herman, News24)

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says the court challenge she launched over the DA's internal "Steenhuisen report" was postponed in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday because the DA apparently refused to hand over the evidence which informed the findings in the report.

She was demanding two documents so the case could proceed.

The first was a letter from Cape Town safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith that she says addresses allegations pertaining to security upgrades to her home and the shutting down of the City of Cape Town's special investigation unit.

ALSO READ: De Lille tells DA why she should not be removed as mayor

In a statement, De Lille said she had been asking for this letter since September 2017 but has had no luck.

The second item was an SMS she allegedly sent to someone regarding the scoring of Achmat Ebrahim's performance at the time he applied for the position of City manager.

"It is only fair I receive this as this SMS was relied upon to initiate disciplinary action against me. We are demanding from the DA the name of the person that I allegedly sent the SMS to, the number of the phone which I allegedly sent the SMS to and a copy of the SMS," she said.

Report not part of charges

De Lille and some of her mayoral committee members have been the subject of a report compiled by the City of Cape Town council as well as an internal party report.

The council report, an independent Bowman Gilfillan report, found apparent prima facie evidence against the mayor of "gross misconduct" and "dereliction of duty", the DA's federal executive said last week.

The contents of that report, however, did not form part of the internal charges against her.

She made representations to the federal executive on Wednesday on why she should not be removed from her post as mayor.

The internal "Steenhuisen report", named after DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, alleged that De Lille was a vindictive leader who "clearly had something to hide", News24 reported.

De Lille said that without a full record of evidence, the report could only amount to a "collection of feelings and baseless anecdotes".

'We will not litigate through the media'

De Lille's challenge of the "Steenhuisen report" was seen on the civil trial court roll on Thursday but did not have a judge allocated to it.

She said lawyers for herself and the DA went to see Judge President John Hlophe on Thursday morning to discuss possible hearing dates.

"I have now been forced into the position of having to launch yet another separate court application in order to get the documents which the DA has been using to smear my name."

She said Hlophe agreed that all the cases should be consolidated and he would allocate a judge as soon as the papers were finalised.

"My counsel believes that this will be by about the middle of June this year."

DA federal council deputy chairperson Natasha Mazzone said: "There is absolutely no merit to Mayor De Lille's statement that the DA was delaying in court today. We will not litigate through the media. We respect and abide by all decisions and orders of the court and today was just a part of normal litigation proceedings."

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