DA leader Mmusi Maimane says the federal legal council will investigate and prosecute Patricia de Lille. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
DA leader Mmusi Maimane says the federal legal council will investigate and prosecute Patricia de Lille. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

Patricia de Lille has been formally charged by the DA with misconduct and bringing the party into disrepute, and will face a disciplinary process. In the meantime she will continue in her role as Cape Town mayor.

However, the DA’s federal executive, the party’s highest decision-making body, has recommended to the City of Cape Town’s DA caucus that De Lille no longer be in charge of managing the city’s response to the water crisis. Her deputy, Ian Neilson, and mayoral committee member for water Xanthea Limberg will take control of the city’s drought response.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the caucus had also
been asked to review the delegation of responsibilities in the city to “restore the proper decision-making authority and functioning” of the mayoral committee, council committees and subcouncils.

Among the charges against De Lille is that she has inappropriately usurped the functions of other executives and centralised power in her office.

The federal executive met in Cape Town on Sunday to discuss De Lille’s future following allegations of maladministration and corruption. De Lille will face a disciplinary hearing and will be investigated by the DA’s federal legal commission,
which will have 60 days to conclude its work.

De Lille welcomed the decision by the federal executive to formally charge her, saying this would give her the opportunity to tell her side of the story.

However, she expressed disappointment that the party had “already stripped” her of some of her powers before the disciplinary process was concluded.

“All that I was asking for was a fair chance to clear my name from the aspersions which were cast on my character,” she said.

“I have dedicated my life to fighting corruption, as history shows, and therefore I also welcome [that] the corruption charges or allegations are no longer being mentioned by the DA.”

The Cape Town mayor was placed on suspension from party activities in December 2017 pending the outcome of two investigations into the allegations. The one was an internal party inquiry led by parliamentary chief whip John Steenhuisen and the second was an external inquiry conducted by lawyers Bowman Gilfillan.

The Bowman Gilfillan investigation came after executive director in De Lille’s office, Craig Kesson, made allegations of wrongdoing by the mayor in a sworn affidavit. This was in connection with the cover-up of alleged corruption by an official in relation to a MyCiTi bus tender. Steenhuisen’s investigation arose from complaints from De Lille’s colleagues about her style of leadership.

The Cape Town caucus is split in its support for De Lille.

Those in the caucus who want De Lille removed as mayor have complained about her “autocratic” style of leader-
ship and “irrational” decision making. It is claimed that this affected the city’s response to the water crisis.

The opposition ANC in the Cape Town council has already tabled a motion of no confidence in De Lille.

Her opponents in the DA caucus want to table their own motion of no confidence,

Maimane said it would be premature to move on a motion of no confidence in De Lille or support one.

This means — in a twist of déjà vu — that DA councillors will have to vote for De Lille in the ANC motion in two weeks’ time, even though many no longer support her.