Cape Town - Under fire mayor Patricia de Lille has put her case in the court of public opinion a day before her disciplinary hearing in front of the DA.
This has further enraged DA bigwigs who called her actions “superficial, argumentative and factually inaccurate”. De Lille said her main concern is to ensure the public understands what the charges are about.
She said the bulk of the charges concern allegations of highly technical transgressions which do not involve her at all. “Other than the contention that as the ‘boss’ of the City I should be held liable. These charges originate from reports compiled by the director in my office, Craig Kesson, which are currently being investigated. I have not been accused of corruption in any of these matters and have given my full support for these investigations,” she said.
“Given the widespread coverage and public interest in this matter – whether the public and media will be allowed access to the hearing.
“My lawyers have emphasised to the party that I can only restore my reputation if the public is able to view and assess for themselves whether the process is fair. The party however wants a closed hearing and, quite ironically it is Glynnis Breytenbach, who fought for her own disciplinary hearing to be open when she was at the National Prosecuting Authority, who is now leading the fight for a secret hearing,” De Lille said.
“But as we know there is always a different standard when it comes to me: secret ballot for Zuma’s vote of no-confidence; open vote for De Lille; Premier Helen Zille could attend caucus meetings whilst she was suspended while I was not allowed to,” De Lille said.
James Selfe, federal executive chairperson, said De Lille is the one who constantly alleges that she is facing charges of corruption.
“We have never said so. She is facing charges of interfering in staff selection processes, and of condoning and covering up maladministration in the City of Cape Town, that among other things resulted in the auditor-general altering his audit opinion of the City,” Selfe said.
Fresh allegations of nepotism against De Lille surfaced last week, after an applicant for a director’s post claimed he was sidelined although he had 36 years’ experience. He laid a complaint with the South African Local Government Bargaining Council alleging the appointments were political.
De Lille said the allegations made amounted to hearsay.
Selfe said the DA’s practice in conducting disciplinary proceedings is that they ought to be held without the media being present.
“This is to prevent grandstanding by the accused and witnesses alike. De Lille has made an application for this hearing to be in public. The panel hearing her matter must still decide whether to grant the application. It is therefore not true to say that the party wants a closed meeting,” he said. “Her (De Lille) statement is superficial, argumentative and factually inaccurate,” Selfe said.
De Lille said Selfe is also confused on why she went to court to challenge the Steenhuisen-report.
The hearing is to be chaired by Tlokwe councillor Hans-Jurie Moolman, his fellow councillor Pogiso Monchusi and former deputy minister of justice in the national unity government, Sheila Camerer.