Mmusi Maimane, DA Leader ~ 31 October 2018
Today Patricia De Lille resigned as mayor of Cape Town, as per the agreement I made with her in good faith in August. I realise it has been a difficult time for the people of Cape Town. It is important now that we draw a line in the sand and focus on the future, on improving peoples’ lives, and on building an inclusive, sustainable city.
I have always maintained that De Lille has made a valuable contribution to South Africa. Nevertheless, as mayor she stands accused of doing some inherently wrong things, as detailed in a 2000-page report (read a summary here) by independent legal firm Bowman Gilfillan.
The city council has now laid charges against De Lille, based on the findings of this report, which clearly shows how De Lille’s conduct systematically broke down good governance in the City of Cape Town by manipulating city processes and protecting the wrongdoing of city officials.
It recommends that De Lille be criminally charged for, amongst other things, interfering in city tenders. She did so by interfering in the legal obligation of the former City Manager, Achmat Ebrahim, to institute legally required disciplinary action against officials suspected to have violated the law.
According to the report, she actively shielded and defended officials implicated in criminal acts relating to the BYD bus tender for new MyCiti buses, in which processes were fraudulently manipulated to illegally favour one bus provider.
Similarly, in the Volvo chassis matter, as mayor she chose to ignore an irregular payment of almost R50 million and shield consequential action against it. De Lille’s level of interference is best summed up by her own comments that “this matter is going nowhere”.
She has been charged under section 119 of the Municipal Systems Act, which states: “119(1) A councillor 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 offence and on conviction liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years”.
As a party we pride ourselves on accountability. We have always upheld the principle that everyone is equal before the law. Good, honest government is a guiding principle for the DA. We will not compromise on that. No matter the consequences, we take a zero-tolerance approach to any form of corruption, misconduct or maladministration. There is really no other option for a party that puts people first, as we try to do.
There is a simple adage which says: “Do the right thing, even if it’s hard.” In the case of Patricia De Lille, the DA has done just that. And believe me, it has been hard. But after all, principles only count when they are tested.
Her conduct as detailed in this 2000-page report would not be acceptable in any DA government, because it violates our non-negotiable principle of good, honest government. I am proud of the DA government in Cape Town for opening an investigation into these claims and for doing the right thing in taking the difficult action against De Lille.
That an independent investigation has found against De Lille vindicates the DA in its determination to seek accountability. But I want to be clear that even had the report found in her favour, which it did not, launching an independent investigation would still have been the right thing to do.
We believe the law should take its course. De Lille has repeatedly expressed a desire to “clear her name” but like Zuma, she has consistently delayed and obstructed the process of achieving “her day in court”. Over the past year that this saga has played out, De Lille has done her best to confuse and conflate matters in the public mind – both directly and through her many proxies.
Most recently, she has claimed that a second Bowman Gilfillan report contains conflicting findings. This is nonsense. There is a golden thread that runs through both reports which describes how she consistently manipulated city processes and protected the wrongdoing of city officials.
These people are also being held accountable. Melissa Whitehead has been suspended and is the subject of a disciplinary process. Brett Herron has been charged. De Lille has aggressively and publicly defended them both for their actions and has simultaneously attacked the whistle-blowers who brought their and her misconduct to the fore. Other implicated officials will be dealt with in terms of the relevant city processes.
History will prove the DA did the right thing even when it was hard. The governance breakdown in Cape Town under De Lille has cost the City dearly, resulting in fatally flawed and compromised tenders, the cancellation of which has exposed the City to serious legal and financial risk. So, I am relieved that she no longer holds the reins in Cape Town. I do, however, wish her well in her future endeavours.
We now enter a new era under Mayor Dan Plato, who will refocus council on the fight against crime, on building an inclusive city, and on speeding up service delivery for all.
As a party, the DA remains deeply committed to good, honest governance. The latest employment figures, released yesterday, show that we are delivering in the Western Cape, where 95 000 new jobs have been created in the past year and where broad unemployment has dropped by 1.5 percentage points, even as national unemployment has reached all-time-high records.
We are now focused on election 2019, to bring our offer of good, honest governance to all South Africans.
Natasha Mazzone, DA Deputy Chairperson of Federal Council
The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the resignation of Patricia De Lille as the Mayor of the City of Cape Town and that she stuck to the agreement to resign.
After a difficult and protracted journey, we will now finally put this matter behind us and focus purely on the people of Cape Town, whom we are committed to serve.
Despite continuous vilification and insults from the outgoing mayor, the DA would like to take the opportunity to wish her well in her future endeavours.
The DA also notes Ms De Lille’s announcement that she has approached the Western Cape High Court to have the independent Bowmas Gilfillan report set aside (an investigation for which De Lille herself voted in favour of). It is, however, crucial to remember that this is an independent council report, which found her guilty of systematically breaking down good governance in the City of Cape Town. She did so by actively shielding and defending officials allegedly guilty of irregularities 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 R50 million).
Ms De Lille likes to try and confuse the public, saying repeatedly there is an irreconcilable contradiction between the two reports. This is a diversion – both reports find a pattern of interference and manipulation of governance processes by Ms De Lille.
As was independently found, her failure to bring the matter to the attention of Council was a failure of her duties as Mayor in respect of the Municipal Systems Disciplinary Regulations 5 (1) and (2), as well as Regulation 3(2) of the Financial Misconduct Regulations.
This is why the Speaker of Council yesterday laid criminal charges against Ms De Lille for contravening s119 of the Municipal systems Act which states:
“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.
Any dispute Patricia de Lille may have about these Council processes is thus purely a matter between the City and the outgoing Mayor. However, it needs to be stated unambiguously that there was no absolutely no political interference of any kind in what was always an independent Council led process. Any attempt to claim otherwise is also untrue.
As a party we are proud that we stand almost alone in holding our public representatives to the highest possible standard of conduct – we hold everyone in the DA accountable for their actions, no matter their popularity, or history. It is clear that people have long forgotten what political accountability looks like in practise. The DA had no choice to hold Ms De Lille accountable, and we will never apologise for doing so.
The Mayor-elect of Cape Town, Dan Plato will now soon work to fix the damage done to governance systems in the City of Cape Town, restore the highest level of service delivery, and most especially focus on leading the fight against crime and gangsterism, unemployment and improving services in all parts of the City. As De Lille herself confirmed, the Party’s manifesto is being executed in the City’s IDP and we will make sure that Cape Town goes back to being the shining light in South Africa – a bastion of clean, accountable and effective government.