DA keeps corruption out and puts the citizens first

Issued by Natasha Mazzone – DA Deputy Chairperson of Federal Council
25 Oct 2018 in News

The Democratic Alliance is fully committed to the rule of law, and good governance. Where we govern we take a zero-tolerance approach to any form of corruption, misconduct or maladministration, as we always put citizens first.

We have governed the City of Cape Town since 2006 and in this time, we have worked hard to make it a model of good governance in South Africa, where the highest standards of ethical leadership are upheld.

It is against this backdrop that we were forced to act in relation to the numerous forms of allegations of misconduct levelled against Patricia de Lille and others implicated. We know that over the last year that members of the public have, at times, been confused about the exact reasons we had to do so.

Today’s resignation of 5 councillors who were fierce defenders of Ms De Lille at all costs – is no coincidence, as the timing of their resignation was a clear attempt to distract from the damning independent report into the possible criminal conduct of Patricia De Lille and Brett Herron.

However, we, as the DA in the City of Cape Town will not be distracted from the real issues at hand.

Now that the City of Cape Town’s independent investigation is concluded, it is now finally clear for all to understand why we acted in the manner we have as it relates to Ms De Lille.

This independent investigation, appointed by the City of Cape Town Council has recommended that Patricia de Lille be criminally charged for inter alia interfering in city tenders, and the legal duties and obligations of the former City Manager, Achmat Ebrahim, in instituting legally required disciplinary action against officials guilty of violating the law. A level of interference that can be best summed up, by De Lille’s comments “that this matter is going nowhere”.

A 2000 page report by the independent investigators details in vivid and grim detail how Patricia de Lille’s conduct systematically broke down good governance in the City of Cape Town.

She did so by actively shielding and defending officials guilty of criminal acts in relation to the BYD bus tender (where processes were fraudulently manipulated to illegally favour one bus provider) and the Volvo chassis matter (where the mayor chose to ignore and shield consequential action for irregular payment of almost R50 million).

The independent report finds in relation to Ms De Lille’s conduct that:

“her failure to bring the matter to the attention of Council was a failure of her duties In respect of the Municipal Systems Disciplinary Regulations 5 (1) and (2), as well as Regulation 3(2) of the Financial Misconduct Regulations.”

Council will now likely seek to charge Ms De Lille under s119 of the Municipal Systems Act, which records as follows:

“119(1) A councilor who attempts to influence the municipal manager or any other staff member or an agent of a municipality not to enforce an obligation in terms of this Act, any other applicable legislation or any by-law or decision of the council of the municipality, is guilty of an offences and on conviction liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years”. 

It needs to be borne in mind that this finding comes on the back of a previous independent finding which found de Lille guilty of:

“behaviour and actions which constituted gross misconduct, gross dereliction of duty, and conduct that amounted to deceiving council”.

It is also important to note that Melissa Whitehead, the Commissioner for Transport, and the Mayoral Committee member for TDA as well as Brett Herron, will now also likely be criminally charged.

Ms De Lille has aggressively and constantly publicly defended them both for their actions and has simultaneously attacked the whistle-blowers who brought their and her misconduct and criminal actions to the fore.

Ms De Lille has sought directly, and through her many proxies to confuse and conflate matters in the public’s mind.

It must also be noted that the first report, in no way exonerates her as she claims. The first investigation was far more limited in scope, and only interviewed a handful of people – even so, it points to her undue influence over the former City Manager. The second, far more substantive report, which was focused on the full extent of administrative wrongdoing under her leadership, shows that she protected those guilty of wrongdoing in the City.

The extent of this governance breakdown in the City of Cape Town under De Lille, has seen the City unnecessarily exposed to enormous future legal and financial risk, to the extent of billions of rands, as a result of the cancellation of fatally flawed and compromised tenders, both of which the Mayor played a lead role in driving.

The Mayor-elect, Dan Plato is now primarily focused on the fight against crime and speeding up the provision of service delivery for the people of the city.