DA to formally charge de Lille in the interest of good governance

The Federal Executive of the Democratic Alliance met yesterday to deliberate on matters relating to the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille.

In its deliberations, the Federal Executive was guided by the best interests of all the people of Cape Town and by our deep and abiding commitment to delivering clean, accountable and transparent government wherever we may govern.

The true test of any political party is what it does when confronted with serious allegations of political dysfunction, maladministration and governance failures.

Amongst a number of issues arising, the Federal Executive deliberated on the following aspects:

  • Evidence of deep divisions within the caucus of the City of Cape Town. These divisions were shown to have been a result of the Mayor’s particular leadership style which is overwhelmingly viewed as unnecessarily autocratic, divisive and misaligned to democratic principles of openness and tolerance. It became clear that this had contributed to creating a paralysing culture of fear among both elected public representatives, as well as officials in the City of Cape Town. The consequence of which was a material impact on rational, accountable and transparent decision making in the City.
  • The organisational restructuring led by the Mayor appears to have been used in certain instances to remove experienced officials in the City, with a view to replacing them with officials whose loyalty to the Mayor was prized over all else.
  • Under the Mayor’s leadership key decision making structures had been stripped of powers and functions, seemingly with a view to centralise overwhelming power in the Mayor, undercutting the authority and democratically enshrined role of the Mayoral committee, portfolio committees and sub-councils, as well as the DA’s commitment to bringing government as close to the people as possible.
  • It appears that the Mayor interfered with and manipulated appointments at a senior management level within the City and some of its entities.
  • A growing sense of a loss of confidence by the caucus in the leadership of the Mayor which affected governance in the City negatively and undermined effective service delivery.
  • In particular, the Mayor’s often irrational, autocratic and divisive leadership style was seen as especially problematic, and it was claimed saw her often overstep the boundaries of her authority and personally direct operational decisions such as the specification, awarding and timing of tenders, in an ad-hoc and highly inappropriate fashion.
  • This, in turn, had created the real risk of an impending loss of senior and skilled technical staff from the organisation, as a result of often intolerable working conditions for professionally qualified and legally mandated officials.
  • The claims made in a Protected Disclosure by Craig Kesson, the Executive Director in the Directorate of the Mayor, as it related to allegations of maladministration and serious governance irregularities, and the Mayor’s alleged role therein.

After careful consideration of these primary points of concern, the Federal Executive at the time asked the Mayor to provide reasons as to why she should not resign.

The need to act with dispatch was heightened by the prolonged drought and our desire to ensure that there was unity of purpose within both the political and administrative leadership of the City to effectively govern Cape Town and respond to this issue.

The DA is determined that we do everything possible to bring unity of purpose and cohesion to the City of Cape Town.

To build on the successes that have previously been achieved, and most importantly, in the current context do everything we can to manage the current water shortages, in collaboration with provincial and national government, who share the responsibility of ensuring that everything humanly possible is done to ensure that Cape Town does not run out of water.

This must and will be the most pressing priority of the administration of Cape Town and thus it is essential that we act swiftly.

The Federal Executive has thus resolved that the Mayor be formally charged and investigated by the Party’s Federal Legal Commission.

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