Cape Town - 140618 - Pictured is Lindiwe Sisulu. The State of the Nation Debate started today and will continue tomorrow as parties debate the address the President made the evening before. Picture: David Ritchie (083 652 4951)

Cape Town - Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has launched a scathing attack on the DA-led City of Cape Town, accusing it of “spending millions… on a scam called the Design Capital”.

She accused the city of “buying” the title.

In her address to Parliament during the debate on the State of the Nation address on Wednesday, Sisulu castigated new DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane for saying that his party governed better.

“In this province, where the DA governs, R30 billion was spent on consultants, no doubt white cronies of the DA government. In this province, we have scam after scam that is readily covered up with the complicity of the media. Millions are spent by the City of Cape Town on a scam called the Design Capital. These millions could have been spent on shelter and proper sanitation.”

She pointed fingers at the city council for “paying the judges of the Design Capital award”.

“Maybe honourable Maimane can explain to the taxpayers of Cape Town why the DA bought the title, how much they paid for it, how much it is still costing and how much it will cost over the next three years. And how this can be defined outside the context of corruption and wasteful expenditure?”

But mayor Patricia de Lille hit back, saying Sisulu was hiding behind the protection of Parliament to spread lies about the DA-led city council.

“I challenge her to repeat the lies she has spread in Parliament, because the City of Cape Town did not pay any judges, nor did we buy any title. It is not like the ANC mayor in the Free State who bought a title. This does not happen in Cape Town.”

She said the city, as the only metro in the country to get a clean audit, could account for every cent it spent.

“No money was wasted, no money was stolen.”

The attack on the city came just days after Sisulu accused De Lille and Premier Helen Zille of “a lack of care and responsibility” to the Lwandle community which was evicted from land owned by the SA National Roads Agency.

But De Lille said Sisulu’s lashing of the city council on Wednesday was just a sign of the “low level of politics” in Parliament. Sisulu should have been focused on her own portfolio, instead of taking potshots at the DA, she said.

“Human Settlements is in a state. There is a shortage of houses to be built. Never mind the State of the Nation, she should be concentrating on the state of her department.”

Cape Town is halfway through its year as the World Design Capital. The Cape Town Partnership started the bid for the title, conferred every two years by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, a non-profit organisation that promotes industrial design.

The Cape Town Partnership, acting for the city, formed a bid committee to pitch for the designation.

The theme of the bid was “Live Design. Transform Life.”

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, chief executive of the Cape Town Partnership, said last night that the city was part of a “tough” bidding process and that Bilbao and Dublin were also strong contenders for the title.

“We experienced the process as fair and tough. Our bid story is available on both our website and the Cape Town Design Network website. Our resources were slim, and for a non-profit organisation like the partnership the bidding was an extreme learning process.

“It is for this reason that we created a bidding history narrative for both Cape Town and future World Design Capital bidders.”

Cape Argus