De Lille hits out at JP Smith over ‘malicious, defamatory remarks’

City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has hit out at mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith, accusing him of spreading “malicious and defamatory remarks” relating to upgrades at her home.

In a statement, De Lille said she had briefed her lawyers who would advise her on “an appropriate course of action”.

“JP Smith wants to play cowboys and crooks by releasing all kinds of statements that the Metro Police is responsible for fighting crime,” De Lille said.

“JP Smith is dragging my name through the mud for the sake of sensationalism.”

When approached for comment, Smith said simply, “I have been asked not to respond.”

Smith did not say who in the DA asked him to not respond.

“The matter is now in the hands of the party,” he said.

On Friday, News24 reported that Mayor Patricia de Lille had in August clipped the wings of the city’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) by ordering that it be shut down.

This move had rattled Smith who in August wrote to, among others, DA leader Mmusi Maimane, in an attempt to find out why De Lille was trying to shut down the unit.

Alleged irregularities

Smith said it could also be linked to rumours of alleged irregularities relating to building work at De Lille’s Pinelands home. He also said restructuring that had happened within the city meant there was “reasonable suspicion” that, if corruption was detected, nothing would happen to De Lille.

“This has already been the concern to one particular whistleblower on corruption who works in the mayor’s office and who claims that there is corruption in the office of the mayor and that procurement processes are not being followed,” Smith wrote. De Lille, however, refuted the allegations, saying she paid for the renovations herself.

“I am prepared to make the proof of these payments made by myself known as part of the proper legal processes,” she said.

De Lille said she has spoken to Democratic Alliance leadership “reminding them that there is a separation between party and State and that this is an operational matter”.

She said she had expressed her dissatisfaction over Smith’s conduct with Maimane and federal chairperson James Selfe.

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