Cape Town - The DA said on Sunday that it had nothing to do with the bribery charge against outgoing mayor Patricia de Lille, now that it has been dropped and she is suing for R1million for defamation.
De Lille said on Sunday: “I was formally notified by the Hawks that the senior public prosecutor has considered the evidence regarding the case of bribery made against me in relation to bogus allegations by a Mr Anthony Faul, and that the decision was made to not institute prosecution against me. The charge was accordingly withdrawn. The matter will therefore not be proceeding.
“In early February this year, DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe confirmed that the party had approached the police with an affidavit they had received from businessman (Anthony) Faul.
“I rejected these ludicrous allegations from the onset when they appeared out of thin air in February this year. This was at the height of the time when the DA was trying everything to remove me at all costs by throwing all sorts of allegations at me, hoping that something would stick.”
Faul, a Gauteng businessman who alleged De Lille attempted to bribe him, has remained tight-lipped in the face of the threatened R1m lawsuit.
When the Cape Times approached Faul after De Lille told a press briefing on Sunday that she had instructed her lawyers to start a defamation case against him, he put down the phone before a question could be put to him.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith had said Faul had lodged a complaint with him in January, claiming that while on the verge of being handed a contract in late 2012 De Lille had demanded that he first pay her a R5m bribe.
Faul claimed that when he declined, De Lille refused him the contract.
Since Faul made headlines earlier this year, the Cape Times established that he had been struck off the roll of attorneys on September 17, 1998, in terms of an order granted by the high court in Pretoria.
Smith said on Sunday that the entire matter had no bearing on him and there were strict media protocols around it.
“He (Faul) contacted me initially and I said I had no locus standi in terms of investigating any colleagues,” he said.
However, this was in stark contrast to documents in the possession of the Cape Times, which exposed the extent to which Smith’s Special Investigative Unit (SIU) operated outside of its mandate and as a parallel police force, investigating serious crimes such as murders and attempted murders, despite not having the authority to do so.
The SIU was at the centre of a spat that erupted between Smith and De Lille, who moved to clip its wings.
Smith said he suggested to Faul that he approach the City of Cape Town’s forensic services, the police and the DA’s federal legal commission.
Selfe referred questions to his deputy Natasha Mazzone, who said: “The DA has learnt of mayor De Lille’s intention to sue Anthony Faul via media reports this morning. This matter is between Ms De Lille and Mr Faul and never formed part of any formal investigations embarked on by the DA.
“The DA did not lay charges against Ms De Lille for this issue, we simply fulfilled our legal obligation of making the law enforcement agencies aware of the allegations as is required in the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act,” said Mazzone.
De Lille said the allegations made by Faul were patently false and a vicious attack on her reputation.
“You have to ask the people who were throwing this mud and dirt at me, within the Democratic Alliance, why they wanted to get rid of me.
“I don’t think they expected a fightback and I was determined to clear my name and this was just the beginning,” she said.
De Lille said the move to go after Faul was just the beginning and over the next three weeks she would release the names of Members of Parliament and others who were involved in the smear campaign against her.
“I am relieved that justice has prevailed and that I have once again been vindicated.
“It is proof of the vicious witch-hunt which has unfolded over the past year to get rid of me.
“I have taken an enormous amount of abuse and all the allegations which were spread far and wide by the DA have caused me great reputational harm.”