Cape Town - Under-fire mayor Patricia de Lille has started her fightback by taking safety and security boss JP Smith head-on in an explosive submission to the DA’s top brass.
Troubles surrounding De Lille started when she reportedly shut down the City’s special investigative unit (SIU), which was under the control of Smith.
However, official correspondence between Richard Bosman, city director for safety and security, and city manager Achmat Ebrahim shows that the unit was never shut down.
The name and mandate were changed after De Lille requested that its mandate be clarified.
In a confidential affidavit, SIU officers confirmed the name changed to the safety and security internal inspectorate.
De Lille said: “The allegation that the SIU has been shut down is incorrect. As a result of certain concerns raised by the Speaker (Dirk Smit), it was decided to launch an investigation to determine and clarify what exactly the mandate and scope of the SIU was, in terms of the law.
"The investigation established that the SIU was conducting itself completely out of the scope of its mandate.
"For example, the SIU was, for reasons known only to them and/or their mayco member, conducting investigations of and about certain councillors.”
De Lille made submissions to the DA after being suspended and asked to provide reasons not to be fired.
The DA has concluded its investigations into De Lille and other governance matters in the City, which it is now deliberating, and will possibly make a final decision on Sunday.
“The SAPS Act makes no provision for the establishment of a special investigative unit for the purpose it appears to have been used for," said De Lille. "In any event, the City has its own very well established forensic unit that can conduct specialised investigations, as well as legal services who can advise on matters which require specialised investigation and other investigative mechanisms.”
Smith, however, said the claims in De Lille’s submission were totally untrue.
“There is a letter where the mayor gives the order for the unit to be shut down. The claims she has made are completely untrue. If you are a councillor and there is wrongdoing, you are subject to any policing authority.
"I can confirm that the unit's name was changed, but its mandate was changed too. We realised that we cannot just go and chase criminals and we needed some sort of investigating capacity. And we did shadow investigations with the police to help where we could,” he said.
In turn, Bosman said: “No investigations are to be conducted outside of this directorate. It was again clarified that any matters relating to councillors fall within the domain of the Speaker in terms of the code of conduct. In this regard, I wish to reiterate that the unit has never conducted investigations against any councillors.”
In a letter dated November 7, Major-General Felix Mbeki, the police’s provincial head for legal and policy services, said to Smith that the Cape Town metro police service was not allocated investigative powers and functions.
Officers of the SIU also made an affidavit to confirm the statements they made to the city manager on October 2.
Members of the SIU were addressed by Bosman on July 25 last year.