DA resolves to formally charge and investigate De Lille

The DA’s federal executive has decided to formally charge and investigate Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille.

This comes following months of serious claims and counterclaims, involving allegations of intimidation, criminality and misconduct, being exchanged between some of the City of Cape Town’s most senior staff, including De Lille.

On Sunday the DA’s federal executive met to discuss reasons she submitted detailing why she should not resign as mayor.

The infighting and decision by the federal executive comes as Cape Town officials grapple to deal with the worst drought experienced in more than a hundred years.

De Lille has recently come under fire, facing several allegations levelled at her by colleagues.

Her response about why she should not resign was in relation to a report based on the findings of a subcommittee, headed by parliamentary whip John Steenhuisen and established by the DA’s federal executive to look into tensions and political management in the City of Cape Town.

This subcommittee, convened by DA leader Mmusi Maimane, started its hearings in early October 2017.

Allegations against De Lille, contained in a confidential report independent investigation, by Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys and which was commissioned by the City council, were also expected to be dealt with during the federal executive meeting on Sunday.

The fallout as a result of all the claims and counterclaims has resulted in disintegrated relationships within the City of Cape Town’s leadership.

‘Strained relationships’

The Bowman Gilfillan report, which the City is yet to make public, hinted at this.

A section of a report appears to refer to a 42-page affidavit by Craig Kesson, the executive director in De Lille’s office.

Kesson’s affidavit, which was made public in November, contained shocking allegations against De Lille, including that she planned to publicly discredit a senior city staffer, who questioned alleged tender irregularities, and asked that a report into a possible R43-million loss regarding another tender be made to “go away”.

A section of the Bowman Gilfillan report said: “Special attention will need to be given to the extent to which the allegations made by [Kesson] and the manner in which they have been prepared and presented by him have damaged relationships within the City administration.”

The Bowman Gilfillan report found that De Lille may be guilty of gross misconduct.

Alleged ‘cover up’

This because, according to the report, City manager Achmat Ebrahim had said she advised that he need not report to the City council allegations of misconduct against the commissioner of the transport and urban Melissa Whitehead.

These allegations related to alleged irregularities involving payments to the companies Volvo and Scania for bus chassis.

The Bowman Gilfillan report said a forensic report presented prima facie evidence that “the Commissioner (Whitehead) was involved in irregular expenditure in relation to payments in the aggregate amount of R43 801 807.06 made to Volvo for 29 bus chassis.”

It also found that payments totalling R29 584 368 made to Scania for 24 bus chassis during June 2014 were irregular.

Last Friday during a confidential council meeting, an investigation into De Lille was ordered because of the allegations stemming from Ebrahim’s claims.

Both Ebrahim and Whitehead were given until last Friday to submit reasons as to why they should not be suspended.— News24

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