The Democratic Alliance (DA) has once again been swept into drama over rumours that Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille is planning to retract her resignation, but there has been no confirmation of these reports as yet.
De Lille told the Mail & Guardian on Tuesday morning that she would release a statement in the afternoon. The mayor returned late on Monday night from London, where she was attending a summit. She is yet to respond to an investigation by Bowman Gilfillan, which implicates her in wrongdoing for failing to report tender irregularities by suspended transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead to the city council.
De Lille’s close friend and confidante Rodney Lentit had advised her to recant her resignation following the release of the report.
He referred to the report as the DA’s “exit attack” on De Lille and reports followed on Tuesday morning that she planned to resign. But he says that he received no response from De Lille to this advice.
“She hasn’t responded yet,” he said.
DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi confirmed said the party had not received word from De Lille that she plans to stay on as mayor, despite tendering her resignation.
“I can confirm the party hasn’t received any formal indication from her about her rumoured ‘reversal’ of the resignation,” Malatsi said.
Lentit claims the party deliberately released the Bowman report while De Lille was in London in an orchestrated campaign to attack her. The 1998-page report is said to have been disseminated to councillors in the City of Cape Town on Saturday.
“My advice was about protecting my mayor. The DA is trying to discredit her. Nobody is standing up for her and for me it is unacceptable that there are white men abusing her,” he said of the party.
The independent investigation by the law firm found De Lille and former city manager Achmat Ebrahim failed to report tender irregularities in relation to the payment for electronic buses from Chinese manufacturing giant BYD (Build Your Dreams), which was awarded a R286-million contract in 2016. It also says De Lille and Ebrahim failed to make similar reports to council in relation to the Foreshore Freeway Precinct project and the procurement of Volvo chassis for more than R40-million. Both the BYD and Volvo tenders were in relation to business for the MyCiti bus service.
Whitehead is implicated in all three deals.
Council will meet on Thursday to decide on if the recommendations of the report will be adopted.
De Lille earlier this year reached an understanding with the party that she would vacate her office at the end of October. Cape Town MEC for community safety Dan Plato is expected to replace her as mayor from November 1.