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 - Calls have been made for Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to prove her claims that the City of Cape Town paid international judges “millions” so that it could be named World Design Capital.

She also slammed the World Design Capital designation as “a scam” that was being covered up by the media.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said Sisulu’s attack, made during the debate on the State of the Nation address on Wednesday, was politics of the lowest level.

She said the minister needed to produce evidence to back her accusations that the city had any way influenced the decision or wasted money to “buy” the title.

De Lille said on Thursday morning on Eye Witness News: “She’s talking absolute nonsense. We don’t bribe, we don’t steal. We’re not corrupt like the ANC metropolitans.”

Tandeka Gqada, the former mayoral committee member for human settlements and now an MP, took to social media on Thursday morning to say: “Shocked by Min Sisulu’s comments to say the City of Cape Town paid the judges so as to win the World Design Capital title. I’d like Min to prove that!”

Sisulu’s spokesperson, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, could not be reached on Thursday morning to find out whether Sisulu would be willing to back up her claims that the World Design Capital was “a scam”.

The attack formed part of Sisulu’s criticism of claims by the DA’s new parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane, 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,” she said.

“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”, adding: “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?”

De Lille said Sisulu was hiding behind the protection of Parliament to spread lies.

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

Sisulu’s attack came days after she accused De Lille and Premier Helen Zille of “a lack of care and responsibility” to the Lwandle community evicted from land owned by the SA National Roads Agency.

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.

The partnership, acting for the city, put forward a bid with the theme “Live Design. Transform Life”.

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, chief executive of the Cape Town Partnership, said on Wednesday night:”We experienced the process as fair and tough. Our bid story is available on both our website and the Cape Town Design Network website.”

Alayne Reesberg, chief executive officer of Cape Town Design, said a quarter of the more than 400 World Design Capital projects dealt with finding indigenous solutions to sustainability issues.

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Cape Argus