Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille
Photo by: Reuters
After the African National Congress (ANC) made public information which suggests that the City of Cape Town paid for security upgrades to Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s private Pinelands residence, the city wants new security upgrades at De Lille’s house.
On Wednesday morning, leader of the opposition in the city council Xolani Sotashe wanted to make a presentation to the portfolio committee on safety and social services on the security upgrades at De Lille’s house and the controversial disbandment of the city’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
The Democratic Alliance (DA) blocked Sotashe’s presentation, with committee chairperson Mzwakhe Nqavashe saying the matters were in the public's interest, but not on the committee’s agenda.
"Those issues need to be raised with the speaker’s office," he said.
Sotashe said he wanted to take the committee into his confidence, but he would respect Nqavashe’s ruling. He left the meeting and presented documents relating to the security upgrades to members of the media.
One document stated that "approval is required for costs incurred of installing improved" security measures at De Lille’s house. The total is R702 075,45.
The other is an invoice for R140 139,98 for five "Clearguards" installed at De Lille’s residence.
According to Trellidoor’s website, Clearguard is "[c]ustom made protective screens that provide see-through security", made of a "[i]ndustrial grade woven stainless steel mesh panel [that] surpassed international strength tests".
It is "suitable for all levels of security risk, from low to high" and also "[e]ffectively blocks out baboons, monkeys, mosquitoes and other pests".
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."
Sotashe said De Lille lied to the public.
"She told people the city did not pay anything, she paid out of her own pocket. Here is the documentation. I don’t know what she is going to say now."
"We are saying as the ANC: this is crunch time. De Lille must come clean."
City council speaker Dirk Smit responded and said as a result of the "reckless actions" of the ANC, "who revealed confidential information about the executive mayor’s private residence, the safety at the mayor’s house has been jeopardised with information and videos of her home being distributed to the public via various media channels".
"The executive mayor, like any office-bearer such as an MEC, is entitled to security upgrades at her house which she has lived in for more than two decades," Smit said in a statement.
He said this also meant that everyone would see that De Lille lived in an "ordinary, modest home which she paid for herself" even though she was entitled to an official residence paid for by the city council, which she had repeatedly refused.
"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 the 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."
Smit said he would report this to the police, who would have to reassess De Lille’s house and that the council would have to "redo the safety measures because these measures have been compromised with the details being made public".
De Lille and MMC for safety, security and social services JP Smith were suspended from DA activities on Tuesday, following De Lille’s statement the day before wherein she said she had briefed her lawyers on "malicious and defamatory remarks" Smith had made relating to the security upgrades.