CAPE TOWN - "I am free, free from oppression" - those were the resounding words of Patricia De Lille after she signed her "real" resignation letter as Cape Town mayor on the Western Cape High Court steps on Wednesday.
De Lille told journalists she would take leave for the next two weeks to mull her next move, but that this was a "bend" in her journey, and not the end of her career.
She said she would vacate her office by 5pm.
Two councillors also resigned on Wednesday, and De Lille said more were expected to follow. Earlier, she filed an application to have two Bowmans law firm reports reviewed and set aside.
In one report into corruption and maladministration in the City of Cape Town, it recommended De Lille be criminally charged, while in the second report, she was cleared of wrongdoing. The reports were tabled in council last week.
De Lille said she had given her full cooperation since the onset of "this witchhunt", but wanted the "politically motivated reports" reviewed and set aside.
She said the Democratic Alliance charged her for the Bowmans report in July 2018, yet it only surfaced this week: "This shows you the disrespect for the separation between party and state".
"With three high court judgments in my favour already, I put my faith in the independence of the judiciary behind us."
She said she was challenging why the same law firm was conducting the same investigation into the same charge, but came to two different conclusions.
"This whole saga has been very disappointing, but I want to say to the people of the City of Cape Town and this great country, those of us that have fought very hard for this democracy and respect people's rights, that every one who violates your rights, you should stand up for justice and fairness."
She said she would invest what "little money" she had to clear her name: "It is important to note that the Bowmans reports are just that - reports. They are not judgments. The evidence Bowmans relies on in compiling their politically manipulated report must be tested in court and only a court can find me guilty."
She questioned the integrity of the law firm: "I also have evidence to suggest that Bowmans were colluding with politicians and eating ratepayers’ money in the process. Over and above the R5 million that they have been paid just this month the City manager approved by deviation an additional R800,000."
De Lille said she had also resigned as a member of the Democratic Alliance.
"I am quite frankly relieved to be freed from an environment of extreme and hatred which serves no one. At the same time, it also pains me to leave this position which I have devoted my life to for the past seven years and which has been the most enlightening and enriching experience of my life - serving the residents of the beautiful City of Cape Town."
De Lille thanked Capetonians for their support and said she would make an announcement in the next two weeks about what she would do in the next phase of her life.
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African News Agency (ANA)