Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

Patricia de Lille pulled no punches on Thursday‚ telling what is expected to be her last meeting of the Cape Town city council as mayor that she would lay criminal charges against those smearing her name.

She said it was “grossly malicious” and a breach of council rules that documents‚ including a 2‚000-page report from a forensic investigation, which recommends criminal action against her‚ had been leaked.

A 2‚000-page investigation report by Bowmans‚ completed after a 10-month investigation‚ says De Lille and former city manager Achmat Ebrahim broke the law when they failed to tell the council about irregular payments in 2015. It also says De Lille did so by attempting to influence Ebrahim not to fulfil his legal obligation‚ while Ebrahim did so by acceding to her wishes.

Addressing a meeting of the council on Thursday, where the report was due to be tabled behind closed doors‚ De Lille said the leaks constituted a clear attempt to “destroy my good name” when her support from communities spoke for itself.

Regarding the law firm’s report‚ she said: “I said from day one I would support it and give my full co-operation.” She added that despite “factual errors” she had pointed out in response to the first Bowmans report in January‚ she continued to co-operate.

“I have been fighting corruption my entire life. I am synonymous with fighting corruption. This is a vehemently racist bully attack on me‚” she said.

Individuals had also spread fake news about her‚ pretending they were quoting the auditor-general.

“I will lay criminal charges against those spreading them‚” she said‚ adding that another report which cleared her name regarding security upgrades to her house, and was not one those bullying her, would leak to the media. “They must apologise or I will take legal action. The issue of upgrades to my house tainted my name and invaded my privacy.” 

She said she was also cleared of interfering with appointments of area-based directors. Her speech was meet with cheers from some and jeers from others.

There have been reports that De Lille will retract her resignation as mayor‚ which is due to take effect on October 31‚ after the tabling of the Bowmans report.

Councillor Grant Haskin asked her on Thursday: “Will you be upholding your resignation or retracting it?” De Lille replied: “You are not my shop steward and it is none of your business.”