The Democratic Alliance (DA) has moved to block African National Congress (ANC) councillor Xolani Sontashe from delivering information to a portfolio committee of the City of Cape Town that he says contradicts Mayor Patricia de Lille on the security upgrades at her house.
Sontashe, leader of the opposition in the City Council, arranged with chairperson of the portfolio committee on security and social services Mzwakhe Nqavashe to address the committee on the matter of the security upgrades at De Lille’s Pinelands home, and the disbandment of the city’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
But during Wednesday’s meeting, Nqavashe said the matters are in the public interest, but not on the committee’s agenda.
“Those issues need to be raised with the speaker’s office,” he said.
DA councillor Brandon Golding said the matter is being dealt with by the Mayor’s office.
“I think it is sub judice,” he said – a phrase often used by ANC MPs in Parliament when an uncomfortable subject is up for discussion.
“It can’t be considered by this committee,” he said.
Freedom Front Plus councillor Erika Botha-Rossouw said it was very disturbing that the members of the committee had to learn through the newspapers of the closure of the SIU.
“We need to hear this today,” she said.
Nqavashe said, “We can’t deliberate on this matter verbally. We can request a report.”
He agreed that it was a matter of concern.
He ruled that Sontashe would not be allowed to speak on the matter at Wednesday’s meeting.
Sontashe then accused Nqavashe of wasting his time, saying he hadn’t gatecrashed the meeting, as he had arranged beforehand with Nqavashe to make his presentation.
“I feel very disappointed,” Sontashe said. “I’m not sure if you got cold feet.”
Sontashe said as an honourable councillor he would respect the ruling. He said he got his information in writing and he wanted to take the committee into his confidence.
“You can try to duck and dive, the issue isn’t going to go away anytime soon,” he said.
After the meeting, Sontashe told the media that he had proof that the city paid R140 000 of the R700 000 upgrades. One of Sontashe’s documents is an invoice, dated 6 June 2017, which lists the City of Cape Town as customer.
On Monday, De Lille said in a statement, “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.”