De Lille must apologise for her slurs‚ says mayor's right-hand man

15 January 2018 - 08:04 By Aphiwe Deklerk
Patricia de Lille. File photo.
Patricia de Lille. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille returned to work on Monday having won the first round in her battle to keep her job‚ but the heat is still on her.

Lawyers for the executive director in her office‚ Craig Kesson‚ have demanded an apology for De Lille’s media statements implying he lied about her.

Kesson made some of the most damning allegations against De Lille‚ including a claim that she asked him to bury a report about possible corruption and maladministration in the city.

“On 9 January 2018 you claimed to have invited our client to a press conference which our client declined without apology. This is patently untrue and a blatant lie‚” reads the lawyers’ letter to De Lille.

The letter said De Lille had interrupted a meeting of the water task team and “questioned our client’s authority to hold it and questioned the presence of other officials attending the meeting‚ and then stormed off”.

The letter added: “You need to note that your intervention as described above was captured on Dictaphone.”

The letter adds to the tensions between De Lille and Kesson‚ who also heads the city’s water resilience strategy aimed at avoiding “day zero”‚ when taps run dry.

Following Sunday’s DA federal executive meeting‚ tensions between the two over their roles in avoiding day zero may be toned down after the DA decided De Lille should no longer be in charge of the city’s drought response. Deputy mayor Ian Neilson and mayoral committee member for water Xanthea Limberg will now take over.

In her statement responding to the DA’s decision‚ De Lille said it was a huge relief and justice had prevailed.

Sunday’s meeting had been convened to consider De Lille’s arguments on why she should not be removed as mayor.

“I note the resolutions‚ which do not include a demand for my resignation or allow a motion of no-confidence against me‚” said De Lille.

She welcomed the fact the DA had formally charged her but was disappointed that it had taken so long to do so.

De Lille faces charges of acting in a manner that has impacted negatively on the party‚ failing to carry out her duties to the standard required by the party and by legislation‚ bringing the party into disrepute‚ acting in a manner that is unreasonable and detrimental to internal co-operation and unreasonably failing to comply with official decisions of the party.

The DA also resolved that its City of Cape Town caucus should vote to dismantle the centralised system of control De Lille has built up in her office.

This was after a sub-committee chaired by parliamentary chief whip John Steenhuisen criticised the mayor’s style of leadership.

The ANC leader in the City of Cape Town‚ Xolani Sotashe‚ criticised the DA in a social media post after Sunday’s meeting.

“It tells a bigger story. DA councillors can’t think nor take decisions. We will call for the dissolution of the city council. DA can't govern the city any more. Fresh elections will resolve the impasse. They have failed to govern‚” said Sotashe.

In another post‚ he questioned the party’s directive to reduce De Lille’s executive powers.

The African Christian Democratic Party leader in Cape Town‚ Grant Haskin‚ said: “No action should be taken against the mayor until allegations against her have been finalised and there is proof and facts in that regard.”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane formally charged Cape Town’s mayor Patricia de Lille on Sunday evening. De Lille is facing an investigation by the party’s federal legal commission.