Xanthea Limberg File photo: INLSA
Cape Town - Axed mayor Patricia de Lille says the claims that she attempted to influence the decision to appoint Achmat Ebrahim as City manager emanated from “Xanthea (Limberg) and (JP) Smith under the pillowcase”.

The SMS that Limberg claims De Lille sent to her, as well as a dossier letter written by DA deputy chief whip in council JP Smith that details allegations of bullying in De Lille’s leadership style, was among key evidence in the report compiled by the DA’s chief whip in Parliament, John Steenhuisen.

Ebrahim resigned from his position early this year.

On Sunday, De Lille categorically denied sending such an SMS, questioning why the text only materialised now when it was allegedly sent on September 28, 2016.

“The authenticity of that SMS needs to be checked out,” she said.

She said Limberg, who is Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, must explain why she had kept quiet about the SMS for the past five months, even though her lawyers had asked for it.

“Is it because of her handlers telling her? She is instructed by her handlers. All of a sudden now it is appearing. I am also wondering where the SMS appeared. It appears from Xanthea and Smith’s pillowcase,” said De Lille.

Limberg, who has co-owned a property with Smith in Hout Bay since early 2017, said some DA senior members had known about the SMS shortly after it was sent to her.

“Nobody influenced me to do anything. I believed right from the start that the SMS was improper and therefore did not respond to it. I submitted additional issues other than just the SMS to the Steenhuisen inquiry. JP Smith had no involvement in any of these matters and only became aware of these multiple issues after the fact,” she said.

Limberg said she could not bring the issue to the attention of the MEC for Local Government because “I did not believe that this would (have) resulted in the matter being taken up appropriately because at the time of the incident De Lille was the DA provincial leader and was responsible for the performance assessment of all MECs in the Western Cape - there was a clear conflict of interest”.

“I raised the issue of the SMS at the time with other colleagues and this did not include JP Smith. I handed over the SMS to the party (early in 2017) and this would have been presented to De Lille during the party disciplinary process,” Limberg said.

Before the party ousted her, De Lille had continually asked for an opportunity to clear her name in public.

With Limberg co-owning a property in Hout Bay with Smith, she said “no matter who I own an investment property with, it doesn’t somehow make De Lille’s action correct”. Limberg said co-owning property with Smith was “a financially viable decision”.

Smith responded that the accusations he influenced Limberg were “simply nonsense”.

“The mayor is a racist. Every time a person of colour does something she doesn’t like she calls them a puppet as if they are unable to make up their own mind. Xanthea Limberg is not a person anyone can influence. She has a strong will and a clear idea of what is right and wrong, and will not allow herself to be manipulated or influenced by anybody, which includes Patricia de Lille,” said Smith.

Asked whether he was in a romantic relationship with Limberg, Smith said: “It’s none of your business.”

Asked whether he wanted to become a mayor, Smith replied: “I have no ambitions of becoming a mayor, there are better people than me.”

In a statement yesterday, acting mayor Ian Neilson said he would appoint new Mayco members by 3pm today, if the Western Cape High Court had by then not ruled on De Lille’s application. He said he was legally able to do so.

However, De Lille disputed Neilson’s claim, saying it was illegal and she was getting legal advice from her lawyers.

“They did not listen to the suggestion of the judge that the old Mayco remain.”

Cape Times