De Lille faces new disciplinary hearing

The Democratic Alliance has charged Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille with a new offense and has instituted a second disciplinary hearing against her, the mayor said on Thursday.

De Lille said that earlier this week she attended a second disciplinary hearing, separate to the initial hearing into her conduct which adjourned last month. The hearing panel, referred to as the Joubert Panel, is chaired by Len Joubert. This latest disciplinary action was instituted because De Lille is facing a new charge that she did not properly advertise a job post for area-based directors.

The area-based delivery directorate in the City of Cape Town is responsible for ensuring that all 10 departments in the City governance run smoothly and are operational.

“The single charge before the Joubert Panel relates to the appointment of area-based directors. It is suggested that I failed to ensure that the advertisement included a requirement that a minimum number of years’ experience is required for the job,” De Lille said in a statement on Thursday.

The disciplinary began on April 3, she said, after she was summoned to appear soon after the first hearing against her adjourned. In the first hearing in March, headed by Hans-Jurie Moolman, a member of the disciplinary panel, Pogiso Monchusi recused himself. The reasons for his recusal have not yet been explained.

After the hearing adjourned, De Lille said that the DA’s Federal Legal Commission handed her attorney a notice to attend a hearing on April 3, because new charges had been laid against her.

“This was bizarre in light of the fact that committee assistant [Glynnis] Breytenbach had requested an amendment to the charge sheet before the Moolman DC [disciplinary committee] probably less than an hour earlier,” De Lille said.

The mayor now believes that the new disciplinary hearing is unnecessary because the charge sheet in the first hearing could have been amended. She has accused her party of attempting to bankrupt her.

“The party does not have an appreciable or legitimate interest in running two separate disciplinary processes against me. I have asked the party to explain why it is doing this but it has refused to do so. I am saying that the only reason why the party is running multiple processes against me is to harass and financially ruin me,” she said.

DA federal executive James Selfe had yet to respond to a request for comment at the time of publishing.

The new charge
De Lille has been previously investigated for employing her “circle of friends” into area-based director positions.

An arbitration judgment by the South African Local Government Bargaining Council arbitrator ruled that the mayor had instructed Louis Scheepers, the executive director of area-based delivery, that job posts should not require a minimum number of years’ experience.

The judgment came out on March 16, just six days before the first hearing into De Lille’s conduct adjourned indefinitely and mimics what the mayor says the party has accused her of in the second hearing.

Arbitrator Arthi Singh-Bhoopchand said that the exclusion of the applicant in the matter, Manual Davids, from a shortlist for a post was “unfair”. Davids said that four of De Lille’s close friends had instead received jobs.

Singh-Bhoopchand also said that it was concerning to see that there were critical documents, such as the shortlist criteria and how it is applied, that was absent. The absence of these records, she said, showed that the council “failed to comply with its own recruitment and selection policy in this regard”.

De Lille responded in her statement on Thursday that she was not responsible for compiling the job advertisements.

“Needless to say I have nothing to do with the compilation of advertisement for jobs. My lawyers say they don’t understand why a minimum number of years of experience should form part of an advertisement,” she said.

But already, the Joubert Panel has come to a grinding halt, just as the Moolman Panel did, according to the mayor. De Lille said that like the Moolman Panel, the Joubert Panel is postponed indefinitely as it considers her demand for an open hearing.

She has also asked that the Joubert Panel consider her complaint about the DA “running multiple processes” against her.

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Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.
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