Cape Town - Mayor Patricia de Lille believes she is under political pressure from various quarters and that there are plans to remove her for implementing a spatial transformation plan in the City.
This was contained in the affidavit of Craig Kesson, chief resilience officer in De Lille’s office, tabled before the City’s full council on Tuesday.
Kesson said he met De Lille on November 7, where she claimed that her detractors have their knives out for her.
“During this meeting she declaimed at great length that she is politically under attack from various quarters. She claimed that there was an agenda to stop the spatial transformation of the City and to remove her, Brett Herron and Melissa Whitehead. She claimed it was a strange coincidence that my reports should have come out at a difficult political time,” parts of his affidavit read.
Apart from being a resilience officer tasked with the drought crisis, he was responsible for risk, ethics, forensics, internal audit and the ombudsman.
“Put simply, along with the mayor and City manager, I am responsible for clean corporate governance in the City,” he said.
Kesson said De Lille had told him that his investigations into City manager Achmat Ebrahim and transport commissioner director Whitehead were irregular.
“She told me that she informed the speaker that I am reopening/re-investigating councillors. She told me that she intends to propose to council that not only the City manager and the commissioner (Whitehead), but that I and portfolio manager: probity (PMP) be investigated too. Alarmingly she said that she would recommend we be placed on special leave while we were all being investigated,” he said.
Kesson’s response to De Lille was that he was acting in accordance to his ethical duty.
“In my respectful view, the mayor’s conduct is not compatible with her legal and ethical obligations. She has failed to ensure that due process is followed in respect of alleged misconduct and irregularities brought to her attention. She appears to have placed pressure on the City manager, not to require due processes to be followed.”
Kesson said he tried to present a report on his findings to De Lille but she refused to accept it. “(She) said that we needed to make the issue ‘go away’ and that the matter should not reach the council. This surprised me,” he added.
De Lille did not respond to repeated calls and messages sent to her, but her spokesperson, Zara Nicholson, said she (De Lille) was consulting her lawyers on the matter and would release a statement later this week.
Ebrahim responded: “In a letter dated December 2, 2016, addressed to the erstwhile chief: forensics, ethics and integrity officer, I set out the manner in which the Volvo matter was dealt with and finalised.
“Had Craig Kesson merely taken the time to consult with me on this matter, as would have been expected of a senior manager in his position, I would have informed him of my actions taken to date. In this regard, I can confirm that Kesson to date had not requested a copy of such forensic report from me, neither did he have the courtesy to engage me on the matter.”
About the Foreshore Freeway Project, Ebrahim said: “I confirm I complied with my obligations in respect of the Foreshore Freeway Project. A full dossier including a report destined for council was submitted to the mayor. After applying her mind and considering the report, especially as there was no direct allegation of misconduct made against the commissioner, it was determined that there was no need for a submission to council as required by the regulations.”