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De Lille suspended from party activities

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De Lille suspended from party activities

Photo by Reuters
Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille

15th December 2017

By: News24Wire

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The federal executive of the Democratic Alliance (DA) has decided to suspend City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille from party activities pending the outcome of ongoing investigations into a series of reports and an affidavit containing allegations of maladministration in the city.

This comes after the conclusion of an investigation of the allegations by a subcommittee.

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The subcommittee "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", DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said in a statement on Thursday.

"In light of these developments, it was the view of the federal executive that...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," she said.

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"At this stage, no decision, other than suspension has been made, pending the provision of the reasons requested by the federal executive."

One of the several issues the subcommittee looked into was De Lille's shutting down of the city's special investigations unit, which resulted in a spat between her and mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services JP Smith, News24 reported on Thursday.

Maladministration probe

The unit also unearthed shocking claims that some city councillors may have been involved in a murder and that upgrades to De Lille's home may not have been legal.

Smith made a submission, dated August 20, about De Lille's order to have the unit shut down, not directly making accusations against De Lille but containing claims and rumours heard from others.

In October, the DA placed De Lille and Smith on special leave from party activities in the Cape metropole.

A separate independent investigation into allegations of wrongdoing, including those of maladministration, within the city is also being conducted.

The deadline for this probe is December 29, whereafter a full report will be presented to the council.

This investigation relates to a special confidential meeting held by the city in November where is was unanimously resolved that the city's performance audit committee be instructed to appoint an independent investigator to probe allegations against the executive director of De Lille's office, Craig Kesson, city manager Achmat Ebrahim and Melissa Whitehead, the commissioner of the transport and urban development authority.

Tender irregularities

The three were then given seven days to provide reasons why they should not be placed on precautionary suspension, whereafter it was decided they would not be suspended.

In an affidavit, Kesson alleged that De Lille had planned to publicly discredit a senior city staffer who questioned alleged tender irregularities.

He also claimed De Lille had asked that a report into a possible R43-million loss regarding another tender be made to "go away".

De Lille hit back via a statement, saying that Kesson's "false" disclosures could not be viewed as the actions of a whistleblower, but were instead a criminal offence.

Van Damme said the party remained committed to clean and efficient administration where it governs.

"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.

"We believe that this is the first step towards bringing new management to the City of Cape Town caucus that is stable, functional, and focused on delivering the highest quality of services to all of its residents."

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