JP Smith questions why De Lille shut down special investigations unit

Cape Town mayor's decision to be discussed by DA national leadership this week

Nothing irregular about work at De Lille's home - City of Cape Town on corruption claims

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town says there was nothing irregular about security equipment installations at Mayor Patricia de Lille’s home.

This comes after claims to the contrary about building work at her house surfaced in a submission by a city official.

The claim about alleged illegal building work at her house, as well as a claim about alleged corruption - in that procurement processes were not being followed in De Lille's office - are contained in a submission by City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith.

Smith’s submission, dated August 20 and sent to DA leader Mmusi Maimane among others, relates to his concerns about De Lille’s order to have the City of Cape Town’s special investigations unit shut down.

He questioned why she would order this and said one of the reasons he could think of was that some members of the city's special investigations unit had previously worked for the VIP unit.

"The head informed me that members of the unit had mentioned to him that they had witnessed irregularities in relation to the Mayor, eg. that building work outside of the security policy of the city had been undertaken at her home at the expense of the Council," Smith had said.

He added that he had never heard these allegations, but that such "comments made or gossip" may perhaps have made De Lille "suspicious or mistrusting" of the special investigations unit.


De Lille’s order to shut down the unit had exposed apparent divisions within the DA Western Cape.

This matter, as well as other tensions, are expected to be discussed this week by a committee set up by the DA’s federal executive. On Friday, News24 reported that the mandate of the unit, which was previously involved in high-level investigations, was changed so that members may no longer probe matters outside of the city.The city then issued a statement saying the unit had exceeded its mandate and had effectively gone rogue.

'Nothing irregular'

On Sunday, City of Cape Town speaker Dirk Smit issued a statement denying irregularities relating to De Lille’s home.

He said it was in response to reports quoting "nameless sources in the Safety and Security Directorate's Internal Investigations Unit".

News24’s report on the matter had quoted Smith’s submission in which he had not named who made the claims against De Lille.

On Sunday Smit said work done at De Lille’s home related to security equipment installations undertaken by the city.

"The work done at the Mayor’s residence follows a security risk assessment and investigation into the safety of the Mayor by a special unit within the South African Police Service (SAPS)," he said.

"Following the investigation by the SAPS unit, a risk analysis report with findings and guidelines of security work required to be undertaken at the Mayor’s residence was provided to the Speaker of Council."

Smit said proper supply chain management processes had been followed to get the necessary safety equipment.

"The details of the safety equipment cannot be disclosed as these measures are to ensure the Mayor’s safety as prescribed in the findings of the SAPS unit’s report," he said.

Smit emphasised the safety upgrades done by a city-appointed supplier through the supply chain management process did not relate to construction building work.

"The construction work undertaken at the Mayor's residence was paid for by the Mayor," he said.

Corruption claims

In the statement the city issued on Friday, it said that in August 2016 it adopted the Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP) which resulted in a review of the city’s structure and all departments.

This had resulted in the city discovering the internal investigations unit was exceeding its mandate.

In Smith’s submission about the order to suddenly shut down the special investigations unit, which had been running for four years, he said the ODTP process had weakened "checks and balances of monitoring the executive".

He said it meant forensic services reported to the mayor.

"This means there is reasonable suspicion that it will fail to act against the Mayor if corruption is detected," Smith said. "This has already been a concern to one particular whistleblower on corruption who works in the Mayor’s Office and who claims that there is corruption within the Office of the Mayor and that procurement processes are not being followed, but that it would be pointless to report as the case would go nowhere and [they] would exposed as the complainant."