De Lille: I’m still waiting for reasons for suspension

Suspended Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille says she is still waiting for reasons for her suspension after the ruling party in the Western Cape took action against her on Thursday, following allegations of maladministration in the City.

Democratic Alliance (DA) national spokesperson Phumzile Van Dame released a media statement on Thursday officially suspending De Lille.

De Lille on Friday said she is aware of the media statement released.

“I can also confirm that I’ve received a letter from the party suspending me,” she said.

De Lille added: “I’m still waiting for the reasons for my suspension from the party, and will not be commenting any further.”

Van Damme said the party’s federal executive had become aware of the alleged existence of a number of issues in the DA’s City caucus, including a series of reports and an affidavit containing troubling allegations of maladministration in the city.

“Due to the nature and extent of such challenges, and the need for transparency and clarity, the Federal Executive resolved to establish a sub-committee to investigate the matter in a responsive and timely fashion,” Van Dame said.

She said the sub-committee completed its work and found sufficient management and governance-related challenges prevalent in the DA’s City of Cape Town caucus, negatively impacting the City’s mandate to govern efficiently for the people of Cape Town.

“As an organisation, the DA prides itself on excellent governance standards, guided by the values of accountability and transparency,” Van Damme added.

She said it was for this reason that the leader directed the caucus of the City of Cape Town to establish an independent investigation to probe the allegations.

“In the light of these developments, it was the view of the Federal Executive that the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille, needed to be placed on suspension pending the outcome of these ongoing investigations. The federal executive has also asked her to supply reasons why she should not resign as the mayor. At this stage, no decision, other than suspension has been made, pending the provision of the reasons requested by the Federal Executive,” Van Damme said.

“The DA remains committed to clean and efficient administrations where we govern. That is why it is of paramount importance that we get to the bottom of these allegations and swift leadership changes be made should they be found to be true so that our commitment to deliver to the people of Cape Town is not derailed.”

She said the party believes that We Lille’s suspension is the first step towards bringing “new management” to the City caucus that is stable, functional, and focused on delivering the highest quality of services to all of its residents.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith had been previously been suspended in October after Smith reported the mayor to the DA over the suspension of the special investigative unit under his control.

However, both Smith and De Lille remained as councillors and continued to do their mayco jobs.

De Lille was not the only caucus member to receive a letter from the party, however. Chief whip Shaun August and City of Cape Town speaker Dirk Smit also received letters. The subcommittee’s commission of inquiry, which began investigating alleged corruption in the caucus in October, received complaints levelling alleged corruption against the two. It remains unclear if August and Smit have been suspended, however.

De Lille and August were investigated by the DA earlier this year for allegedly leaking confidential documents to media during a campaign race to secure the next Western Cape leader

Smith could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.

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