Cape Town – Mayor Patricia de Lille was never expected to go quietly – and now there is even speculation she will not be stepping down as mayor at the end of the month after all.
Amid talk that she has decided not to resign as mayor as previously agreed with the DA, De Lille released a statement on Wednesday over the law firm Bowman Gilfillan's reports.
What has incensed De Lille are two "contradictory" reports by Bowman Gilfillan and that the reports, which are due to be tabled in the council on Thursday, have been leaked, with Western Cape Speaker Dirk Smit reportedly launching an investigation.
In one report into corruption and maladministration in the City of Cape Town, De Lille is reportedly found to be complicit in irregularities. The second report, however, absolves her, she said.
After the 2 000-page forensic report into corruption and maladministration by law firm Bowmans is tabled in council, a decision will be taken on whether to lay criminal charges against De Lille, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Brett Herron, suspended transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead and a string of officials.
"I cannot understand how the same company conducting the same investigation, on the same charge can come to two different conclusions," De Lille said.
But she was not surprised that there had "once again been a very strategic leak of information while I was away on official business for three days".
"This is consistent with the smear campaign that I have been the subject of since the inception of this investigation last year."
De Lille’s closest confidant, Rodney Lentit, told the Cape Argus he advised her to not resign.
“She is on a plane back to Cape Town. I have spoken to her and advised her not to resign until this matter is resolved. We have seen that there is an exit attack by the DA on her. She agreed to take my advice not to resign,” he said yesterday.
De Lille said: "I can confirm that my lawyers have now written to Bowmans to seek clarity on this and requested a response by end of business today.
"Once I receive their response, discuss it with my lawyers and pending the decision of council tomorrow regarding which of the two reports they will adopt, I will then be in the position to announce what my next steps will be."
A senior DA source told the Cape Argus he was aware of De Lille’s plan not to resign. “If she does not want to resign, she will be removed by a motion of no confidence and all other charges and disciplinary action against her will be re-instituted.”
The full statement read: "It is with great disappointment and dismay that I once again have to deal with the repercussions of council information which was leaked maliciously by faceless, nameless and useless people, to injure my good name.
"I have repeatedly taken issue with the credibility of Bowmans ever since the inception of this investigation. The initial report issued by Bowmans, on 29 December 2017, made a number of 'factual findings' which were inaccurate or simply baseless.
"I wrote to them on 3 January, 2018 requesting them to retract a number 'recommendations' made by themselves on issues which they had not even questioned me on.
"My request for them to delete misinformation in that report was met with their rejection. On 5 January, 2018, when council adopted the unedited report, even though I went on the record to say that there were a number of material factual errors up which Bowmans made “highly prejudicial ‘findings’, ‘conclusions’ and ‘recommendations’”.
"One such ‘factual finding' was that I had provided the Democratic Alliance Leader, Mr Mmusi Maimane, a copy of forensic reports. Mr Maimane later confirmed in writing that I had not given him any documents. I was defamed. I was embarrassed by the false accusations, but I still welcomed the investigation, and actively participated when my turn came.
"I was therefore shocked when almost six months later, on 1 June, 2018 at around 6am on Radio 786, Alderman JP Smith was recorded saying the following about my alleged conduct: 'The Bowman Gillfillan report has multiple findings, prima facie findings that says the she misled council. To the point that full council voted to take the investigation against her further. And those findings will be out in due course, and I can’t wait for them to be out.”
"I wrote to Bowmans on the same day to say that my understanding was that the investigation was still ongoing, and I was therefore perturbed about what Alderman JP Smith was basing his excitement on, because he clearly had access to information I was not privy to.
"At that stage the report could not even have included my version of the alleged events because I had not yet provided my written responses. Once again, Bowmans vehemently denied that they had shared any information, despite evidence to the contrary.
"Similarly, on Sunday, 12 August, Deputy Mayor Alderman Ian Neilson was quoted in the Sunday Times, having said the following: 'I think they were due to report to us this month but the latest information is that it has been delayed'.
"Again, I wrote to Bowmans to inquire whether someone from Bowmans was in contact with the deputy mayor because he clearly has an expectation to receive information. Bowmans once again denied the confidentiality breach despite evidence to the contrary.
"So I am not surprised that there has once again been a very strategic leak of information whilst I was away on official business for three days. This is consistent with the smear campaign that I have been the subject of since in the inception of this investigation last year.
"It is very convenient for all my adversaries to accept whatever “recommendations” are, because it suits their agenda to malign me. It is in this context that I wish to reserve my rights in terms of the 'findings', 'conclusions' and 'recommendations' in both reports. I will subject myself to all the necessary processes to have my name cleared.
"There are currently two different Bowman’s reports that I have now received on the same subject matter. Bowmans Report Number 1 does NOT find me guilty of not taking a report to council, because in law the onus would be on the city manager to take reports on executive directors to council. Nothing in law prevented the city manager from tabling the matter.
"Bowmans Report Number 2 does find me guilty on the basis that I allegedly tried to influence the City Manager in him trying to fulfil his duties. I cannot understand how the same company conducting the same investigation, on the same charge can come to two different conclusions.
"I can confirm that my lawyers have now written to Bowmans to seek clarity on this and requested a response by end of business today. Once I receive their response, discuss it with my lawyers and pending the decision of council tomorrow regarding which of the two reports they will adopt, I will then be in the position to announce what my next steps will be.
"Extreme caution should therefore be exercised in slavishly relying on the findings, conclusions and recommendations contained in the reports, particularly considering that the reports appear to be in conflict with each other."