DA to bring charges against De Lille

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) announced that it would charge outgoing Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille under section 119 of the Municipal Systems Act.

The party said it was likely that the city’s suspended transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead and the mayoral council member for transport Brett Herron would also be criminally charged.

The deputy chairwoman of the DA’s federal council, Natasha Mazzone, said the criminal acts happened in relation to the rigging of the city’s BYD tender and the irregular payment of R50 million in the procurement of Volvo chassis.

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A 2,000-page report by law firm Bowmans, tabled in the council last week, called for action against De Lille, Herron and Whitehead.

Mazzone said Bowmans recommended that De Lille be charged for interfering in city tenders, and the legal duties and obligations of the former city manager, Achmat Ebrahim where he had been required to initiate disciplinary action against officials guilty of violating the law. 

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The party’s announcement that it would press charge follows a defiant appearance by De Lille at the Cape Town Press Club on Monday, where she told reporters she would lodge a court application to have the report set aside.

De Lille was vague as to whether she would quit her post on Wednesday, as agreed with DA leader Mmusi Maimane., telling reporters that she was hoping to approach the courts by Wednesday and handling the situation on a day-by-day basis.

Mazzone accused De Lille of ducking responsibility for failures of governance at the council during her tenure.

"Patricia De Lille’s address at the Cape Town Press Club this afternoon confirms what the party has suspected. Ms De Lille will do everything in her power to evade accountability for the governance failures she has presided over," Mazzone said.

"She is doing everything possible to confuse and mislead the public. She is certainly no friend of the truth and is now throwing mud at an unprecedented rate."