Photo by: Bloomberg
About 10 African National Congress (ANC) members visited Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille's home on Thursday to ask her to "pay back the money" on security upgrades to her house.
Initially advertised as a picket, the small group instead eyed the electric fencing and cameras at De Lille's home.
Led by ANC Dullah Omar Region chairperson Xolani Sotashe, they also climbed onto a bakkie to try and peek over her walls, ostensibly to check if there was a Nkandla-style "firepool".
No one seemed to be at home and there was no pool in sight. An empty vehicle with a City of Cape Town VIP sticker stood nearby, and an unmarked security vehicle drove past occasionally. A Saps visible policing vehicle also drove past once.
From the street, News24 could make out a number of visible security cameras.
"We are here to make a statement and beg the mayor just to quietly pay back the money to the taxpayers," Sotashe said.
"Up until this day, she has not proved us wrong."
If she did not respond by Monday, they would bring the "whole of Cape Town" to her office at the civic centre, he said.
Sotashe said they had already spoken with staff of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, and were finalising their submission so they could send it on Friday.
They were taking care to include all the "proof", so that she could investigate the upgrades.
"She mustn't come to the City of Cape Town and scratch her head. She must investigate this thing," he said.
On Wednesday, Sotashe was blocked by the Democratic Alliance from making a presentation to the portfolio committee on safety and social services about the security upgrades to De Lille’s house, and the controversial disbandment of the City’s special investigations unit (SIU).
One document that Sotashe presented to the media stated that "approval was required for costs incurred of installing improved" security measures at De Lille’s house. The total is R702 075.45.
City of Cape Town Speaker Dirk Smit has since issued a statement disputing this amount, saying an amount of approximately R451 000 was paid by Council for security measures.
Another document is an invoice for R140 139.98 for five "Clearguards" installed at De Lille’s residence.
Clearguards are custom-made protective screens.
De Lille, in a statement released on Monday, said: "Regarding renovations at my house, these were paid for by myself and I am prepared to make the proof of these payments made by myself known as part of the proper legal processes."
The City condemned the "reckless actions" of the ANC in revealing confidential information about her home, and videos of where she stayed.
"The executive mayor, like any office-bearer such as a MEC, is entitled to security upgrades at her house, which she has lived in for more than two decades," Smit said earlier.
"With the council’s receipts of the security work done at the mayor’s house being made public, these security features have now been compromised," he said.
Smit said the safety upgrades undertaken at De Lille’s house were based on a risk analysis report and recommendations from a special police unit.
"The report justifies the upgrades, but as a consequence of the actions of the ANC and others, I will have to deploy the City’s VIP protection services to the mayor’s house 24 hours a day.
"The same way any resident would not make details of their security features at their homes known to all and sundry, the sharing of this information has placed the mayor and her family at risk."
The police would have to reassess her house. The council would then have to "redo the safety measures".
De Lille and Mayco member for safety, security and social services JP Smith were suspended from DA activities on Tuesday, following De Lille’s statement the day before, where she said she had briefed her lawyers on "malicious and defamatory remarks" that Smith had made relating to the security upgrades.