DELIBERATIONS: DA councillors held a press conference where they shared experiences of working with axed mayor Patricia de Lille. Pictured from left are councillors Grant Twigg, Thulani Dasa, Mercia Kleinsmith, Robert Quintas, Siseko Mbandezi and Xanthea Limberg. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Simmering tensions between axed mayor Patricia de Lille and the DA have turned into a dirty war of words.

Following media reports that De Lille sent an SMS to influence the decision to appoint Achmat Ebrahim as City manager and her commenting that it emanated from senior councillors Xanthea Limberg and JP Smith “under the pillowcase”, the DA hit back with harsh words.

Natasha Mazzone, DA federal council deputy chairperson, said De Lille’s comments about Smith and Limberg were both sexist and racist.

“These comments are in line with Ms De Lille’s modus operandi of bullying and trying to discredit anyone who will expose her for what she has done. The reality is that Ms De Lille sent Ms Limberg a text message saying: ‘I want to keep Achmat, so score him highest.’ The text message is real and Ms Limberg submitted it as evidence against Ms De Lille for trying to interfere with the appointment of a City manager,” Mazzone said.

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De Lille hit back, saying a privileged person should not talk about racism.

“If they are going on about this SMS I allegedly sent, why do they not test these allegations? They must also say why this SMS has not been given to the DA disciplinary committee or handed in as evidence in court. What Xanthea must ask them is why has this not been taken to these structures?” De Lille said.

She also questioned why Mazzone was speaking on behalf of the DA.

De Lille said she was still committed to an open hearing by an independent person to test all allegations against her.

“This is not the apartheid years where allegations are made and it is turned into the truth. I am not afraid of anyone, I only fear my God. I am showing that in the new South Africa, no party or individual is above the law or the constitution. Judging by the tone of their media statements, they are very frustrated,” she said.

Mazzone, however, said De Lille’s behaviour was deplorable and not in line with DA standards.

“The party holds all its members of the executive to the highest standard. As such, this text message alone should have been enough for De Lille to resign as she clearly was not fit to be a mayor. To then slander Limberg and bring her personal life into what is essentially a criminal matter is the worst kind of sexism and racism.

“If De Lille believes the SMS she sent Limberg - clearly showing her interference in the appointment processes of Achmat Ebrahim as Cape Town City manager - does not hold up, she should submit her cellphone for forensic analysis,” Mazzone said.

Cape Argus