De Lille has a case to answer and will, sooner or later, have to do so

Patricia de Lille (left) has a case to answer, says Natasha Mazzone (right)

Patricia de Lille (left) has a case to answer, says Natasha Mazzone (right)

COMMENT:

The article titled “DA FedEx adopted Steenhuisen findings without proof of wrongdoing” displays a fundamental lack of understanding about the DA’s structures and processes.

The DA’s Federal Executive (FedEx) is a decision-making body, not an investigative one.

This is precisely why the FedEx instructed the party’s Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen, to head a commission to investigate accusations of maladministration and nepotism levelled against Ms De Lille.

The commission was presented with the evidence against Ms de Lille as they were tasked with investigating if there was a prime facie case for Ms Patricia de Lille to answer for.

The report on the findings of the Steenhuisen commission was then considered by FedEx, not the evidence which the Steenhuisen commission had seen. This is entirely normal for political parties. For example,  the Eskom enquiry into state capture will not produce all the evidence it saw before parliament, but it will present its findings and its report, that is how an enquiry works.

The FedEx then decided, based on the report, that the case should be referred to the Federal Legal commission (FLC). At that point, the FLC took over the disciplinary process.

The disciplinary process against Ms de Lille has been delayed numerous times due to frequent delaying tactics employed by Ms de Lille. Once these tactics are exhausted, she will have to provide answers.

The findings contained in the Steenhuisen report cannot be taken lightly.  It stated that her leadership style was divisive, autocratic and made it difficult for councillors to carry out their duties and to effectively serve the people of Cape Town and drive service delivery.

This is a serious indictment on the person tasked by the DA to run the City of Cape Town.

No amount of diversion and subterfuge by De Lille will detract from the fact that an independent investigation conducted on the instruction of the entire council found prima facie evidence of gross misconduct, gross dereliction of duty, and conduct that amounted to deceiving council.

And she cannot escape the fact that she presided over the City’s very first downgrade of its audit status by the Auditor General - a direct result of governance and leadership failures on her part.

It is frankly disingenuous of De Lille to claim she doesn’t know what she did wrong. Former president Jacob Zuma famously claimed the same.

Rather than misleading the public on the processes of the DA, which Ms de Lille has until now had no problem with, she should answer a few simple questions:

  • Did she send the SMS to Councillor Xanthea Limberg asking that the then-City Manager be scored higher because ‘she wants to keep him’?
  • Did she unduly influence the appointment of Limia Essop because she has a personal relationship with her?
  • Why did she refuse to cooperate with the ongoing Bowman’s investigation which seeks to investigate these issues in the City, and which she loudly professed earlier this year she would easily refute?
  • Why did she publicly attack and seek to intimidate the two whistleblowers in the City, including the Cities’ most senior black South African manager, when the claims they made have been vindicated by numerous processes?
  • Why did she seek to protect and shield the now suspended senior official Melissa Whitehead?

Ultimately,  the recommendations of the Steenhuisen report were considered by FedEx,  a decision-making body, and the matter has been referred to the Federal Legal Commission (FLC) for investigation. It is now up to the party’s FLC to consider evidence and report back to FedEx.

Natasha Mazzone

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