Following new allegations revealed in a complaint to the Public Protector (PP), President Ramaphosa has no choice but to fire Patricia de Lille, Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure.
The new range of allegations against the ongoing political meddling and bullying by Minister De Lille have been detailed in a complaint to the PP’s office. The complaint, laid by a former Deputy Director-General of the Department, Mahalingum Govender, supports the allegations made by the suspended Director-General, Adv Sam Vukela in his affidavit in his case against the Minister.
Govender also makes additional allegations of unlawful instructions to officials, constructive dismissal of officials and purported ulterior motives in the termination of contract workers.
It has been a week since the Democratic Alliance (DA) submitted a letter to President Ramaphosa detailing the ongoing political meddling of Minister De Lille in her Department. Following specific examples of her interference, including that of the Beitbridge border fence, the President has yet to respond to these allegations. Minister De Lille remains in situ, impugning the characters of her detractors and doggedly refusing to answer allegations against her.
Minister De Lille can continue to dismiss these allegations as evidence of a plot by the DA to besmirch her character, but these allegations are not being made by us. They are being made by senior officials in the Department she has been tasked to provide policy direction to. The allegations are significant. They are deeply concerning. And they are coming thick and fast.
And in the meantime, the Department has a suspended Director-General, no Deputy Director-General in the Real Estate Management Department, no IDT Board and no IDT CEO leaving a worrying lacuna in leadership. For a Department that was working its way to better and better audit outcomes, Minister De Lille’s interference has created fertile ground for corruption, mismanagement, irregular procurement and nepotism.
The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure needs decisive leadership and policy direction from a Minister who understands their mandate. Minister De Lille is not that Minister.