Cape Town - Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said on Sunday that she welcomed the fact that her party, the Democratic Alliance, have formally charged her.
But it is disappointing that it took them so long, De Lille said. “It is also disappointing that they are already stripping me of my powers, which they are not allowed to do in terms of my statutory duties, before the disciplinary process has been concluded.
"All that I was asking for was a fair chance to clear my name from the aspersions which were cast on my character," she said.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced on Sunday that De Lille will be formally charged and the DA's federal legal commission will investigate her.
Maimane said De Lille would be charged for actions that negatively impacted the image of the party, for failing to perform her duties as mayor "as set out by the party's federal council", and for bringing the "good name of the party into disrepute".
The decision to charge De Lille followed a meeting of the party's federal executive on Sunday.
A subcommittee of the executive had been tasked to probe a series of allegations against the mayor over the past few months, including that she tried to cover up maladministration, losses incurred by the city, and sowing divisions within the City of Cape Town DA caucus.
De Lille will be facing four charges in terms of the party’s constitution. Amongst others, she will be charged with acting in a manner that has impacted negatively on the party, failing to carry out her duties to the standard required by the party and legislation.
Other allegations include serious governance failures, relating to the MyCiti Bus service and the foreshore development projects. She is accused of playing a role in covering up government failures in the City.
Maimane said the party was deeply concerned with the manner in which De Lille handled the matter during the investigation, with her communication to media and those who came forward to request investigations.
“It is further particularly disturbing that the mayor sought to personally target the officials who originally bought these allegations to the fore and tried to prevent an independent investigation from occurring,” said Maimane.
He said De Lille personally authorised multiple reports against Craig Kesson at the Special Council meeting of 21 November that aimed to prevent the investigation into the City Manager and TDA Commissioner Melissa Whitehead.
The sub-committee chaired by parliamentary chief whip John Steenhuisen was brutal in criticising De Lille as divisive, with an autocratic leadership style which has created a paralysing culture of fear within the party.
The party said it recommended to the caucus to bring a resolution to Council that removes De Lille from any role in managing and directing the City’s response to the prolonged drought during the period of these investigations.
It will further recommend that deputy mayor Ian Neilsen, and the Mayoral Committee member for Water, Informal Settlements and Waste Services, Councillor Xanthea Limberg assume overall political leadership and control of the City’s response plan.
De Lille said on Sunday: "I note the resolutions which do not include a demand for my resignation or allowing a motion of no confidence against me.
"I have dedicated my life to fighting corruption, as history shows, and therefore I also welcome the corruption charges or allegations are no longer being mentioned by the DA.
"I feel that I have NOW been granted the opportunity to give my side of the story.
"I look forward defending myself and my actions at the FLC proceedings in the spirit of accountability, which is a central tenant of our hard won democracy,"she said.IOL