DA: What these charges are about - Patricia de Lille

Cape Town mayor says there is always a different standard when it comes to herself


18 MARCH 2018

My disciplinary hearing is due to start this Tuesday, 20 March 2018.

At this stage, my main concern is to ensure that the public understands what these charges are about.

A key consideration in my disciplinary matter is - given the widespread coverage and public interest in this matter - whether the public / media will be allowed access to the hearing. 
My lawyers have emphasized to the Party that I can only restore my reputation if the public is able to view and assess for themselves whether the process is fair. The Party however wants a closed hearing and, quite ironically it is Ms Glynnis Breytenbach, who fought for her own disciplinary hearing to be open when she was at the NPA, who is now leading the fight for a secret hearing.

But as we know there is always a different standard when it comes to me: secret ballot for Zuma’s vote of no-confidence; open vote for De Lille; Premier Helen Zille could attend caucus meetings whilst she was suspended while I was not allowed to. 

It is also unfortunately often reported, needless to say at the instigation of my political opponents, that I stand accused of covering up “corruption” perpetrated by City officials, more particularly the actions of Commissioner for Transport, Ms Melissa Whitehead. 

This is not true. In fact, the bulk of the charges concern allegations of highly technical transgressions which do not involve me at all, other than the contention that as the “boss” of the City I should be held liable.

These charges originate from reports compiled by the Executive Director in my office, Mr Craig Kesson which is currently being investigated by the law firm Bowman Gilfillan. I have not been accused of corruption in any of these matters and have given my full support for these investigations. These matters are technical in nature and falls under the jurisdiction of senior administrative leadership in the City. Why the Party is pursing me on this issue baffles the mind. 

Secondly, in the so-called Steenhuisen Report it was suggested that the Party await the outcome of the City’s processes, but in the increasingly desperate attempts to get rid of me, this advice has been disregarded.

There are a couple of other misperceptions that also need to be corrected. FedEx chair, James Selfe, is quoted in today’s Rapport as saying my disciplinary was scheduled for 5 January 2018 but that the hearing could not continue as I went to Court to challenge the Steenhuisen Report.

I hope for him that he was misquoted and that he did not have a Donald Trump moment.

I am challenging the Steenhuisen report in Court but I was careful to exclude from that challenge any parts of the report which are the subject of the disciplinary hearing. The fact of the matter is that it was the Party that showed no interest in pursuing the charges against me until the motion of no confidence in me was defeated on 14 February. Within hours thereafter, its Federal Legal Commission was in contact with my legal representatives to rush ahead with the disciplinary.

“Maar haastige hond verbrand sy mond”, as we say in Afrikaans. We will show on Tuesday that while the Party in theory has structures such as local caucuses, legal commissions, councils etc, in reality all the decisions are simply taken by three or four individuals who rush around putting different hats on as they go along.

I have also asked that my disciplinary is led by an independent and impartial person so that we have a fair process. The Party is yet to respond to this demand from our side. As things stand, the hearing is to be chaired by a Tlokwe Councillor, Mr Hans-Jurie Moolman, his friend and fellow councillor Mr Pogiso Monchusi and former Deputy Minister of “Justice” in Apartheid South Africa, Ms Sheila Camerer. We will ask for Camerer to recuse herself. Apart from her past, she is neither competent nor suitable to hear the matter. To the best of my knowledge, she hasn’t practiced law in decades and she is a known political opponent. 

Nevertheless, I will appear at the hearing on Tuesday and look forward to having the allegations against me properly tested.

Statement issued by Patricia de Lille, 18 March 2018