Patricia de Lille’s woes began in July when mayoral executive committee member JP Smith sent a dossier to senior DA leaders containing allegations against her.
Cape Town - Patricia de Lille’s woes began in July when mayoral executive committee member JP Smith sent a dossier to senior DA leaders containing allegations against her.

The lengthy report triggered an investigation by the DA and caused friction between him and De Lille.

But those close to the party’s caucus in the city said tension between the two first surfaced after Smith, who had been tipped as a candidate for the city’s housing portfolio in 2012, was instead given the safety, security and social services portfolio and he established a Special Investigating Unit.

Among the issues it dealt with were taxi and gang-related violence, xenophobic attacks and land occupation.

De Lille ordered the unit to be shut down after claims that it was acting outside of its mandate and was involved in illegal investigations, even against some councillors.

The unit’s name was changed to the Safety and Security Internal Inspectorate.

But in the following months Smith claimed he was the one being investigated and his safety had been put in jeopardy as his business interests and the property he owned were under public scrutiny.

In September, the DA appointed a subcommittee to investigate the allegations contained in the Smith report, which included her abrasive leadership style and use of council funds to upgrade security at her private residence.

The report alleged misconduct, lack of professionalism and abusive and insulting behaviour on De Lille’s part.

The tension over the closure of the unit deepened and the party placed both De Lille and Smith on special leave from party activities in the Cape metropole.

Both claimed there had been attempts to tarnish their image.

De Lille accused Smith of dragging her name through the mud in the claims he made about the closure of the SIU.

“JP Smith wants to play cowboys and crooks by releasing all kinds of statements that the metro police are responsible for fighting crime,” she said at the time.

A DA-led delegation, headed by Member of Parliament John Steenhuisen, later led to charges being laid against De Lille.

Smith’s suspension was eventually lifted.

In November, he became one of the DA’s Western Cape deputy chairpersons. He is also the deputy caucus leader in the City of Cape Town.

Weekend Argus

Also read: DA members to lose membership for supporting De Lille