Patricia de Lille has hit back at those calling for her removal as mayor, saying their actions do not represent the City of Cape Town, and show they are pushing to get rid of her to replace her with a party member of their choice. On Wednesday it emerged that the DA’s Western Cape executive wants De Lille removed. This comes as De Lille has found herself at the centre of a political storm, facing several allegations levelled at her by senior colleagues.
On Wednesday De Lille said the move by the DA’s regional executive “does not represent the City of Cape Town DA caucus, because they never met”.
“Secondly after this statement by (DA Western Cape metro chairperson) Grant Twigg was issued I received numerous calls from members from various the branches of the DA saying that they have never been consulted on this statement by the regional executive nor have they given them the mandate.” She said the regional executive was meant to represent DA branches as well as members. De Lille said the regional executive needed to provide proof of when they had met the branches and what mandate they had received from the branches. “They can do this by providing a list of the meetings which took place when branches took decisions,” she said.
‘Rush to get rid of De Lille’
De Lille said the regional executive was confused about its role. “This is yet another example of the flagrant disregard for process within the DA in their rush to get rid of me and make (DA Western Cape leader) Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela the next Executive Mayor,” she said. “It illustrates my previous position that these attacks on me have been about power and positions all along.”
De Lille’s conduct in focus this weekend
De Lille’s conduct will also be examined this weekend when the DA’s Federal Executive meets to discuss reasons she previously provided as to why she should not resign as mayor. De Lille’s response relates to a report on findings by what has become known as the “Steenhuisen commission”. A subcommittee, headed by parliamentary whip John Steenhuisen, was previously established by the DA’s federal executive to look into political management in the City of Cape Town. It is understood several allegations were made against De Lille.
Allegations against De Lille are also contained in a report by independent investigators from Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys. This report, dated December 29, detailed a list of allegations against, and made by, several senior City officials. De Lille was seeking legal advice on the independent report, as she said on Friday there were factual errors in it. She said these were not corrected, even though she had pointed out the errors. The report found that De Lille may be guilty of gross misconduct for allegedly advising City manager Achmat Ebrahim that he need not report to the City council an allegation of misconduct against Melissa Whitehead, the commissioner of the transport and urban development authority.
This related to alleged irregularities involving payments to Volvo for bus chassis. The Bowman Gilfillan report said a forensic report presented prima facie evidence that “the Commissioner (Whitehead) was involved in irregular expenditure in relation to payments in the aggregate amount of R43 801 807.06 made to Volvo for 29 bus chassis”. It also found that payments totalling R29 584 368 made to Scania for 24 bus chassis during June 2014 were irregular.