The Federal Executive of the Democratic Alliance has authorized the DA caucus in the City of Cape Town to lodge a motion of no confidence in Mayor Patricia de Lille.
This is due to a number of reasons which have led to this unprecedented move:
- For the first time in Cape Town’s history, a Council-mandated independent investigation took the view that the sitting Mayor had demonstrated behaviour and actions which constituted gross misconduct, gross dereliction of duty, and conduct that amounted to deceiving Council. This was on the basis of extensive prima facie evidence before the Council which included the Mayor’s own representations;
- These prima facie findings have been supported by the fact that the Auditor-General has downgraded the City’s audit status from clean, to unqualified with conditions. This is untenable for a DA government to see a deterioration in its audit status, especially when such a regression is the direct result of the conduct of the Mayor herself. This is wholly unacceptable and is not in line with the DA’s commitment to clean, open and accountable governance.
In the AG’s assessment these significant findings involve failures of leadership at the first level of assurance, which includes the Executive Mayor, and the subsequent governance breakdown that flows from that. In this regard it is important to note the following:
- That the vast majority of financial findings relate to the Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) which the Mayor has routinely and very publicly defended;
- That the AG found regression within the control environment as a result of poor leadership.
- This can be applied to the Executive Mayor as follows:
- Poor consequence management of senior managers, namely the Commissioner: TDA, in the execution of her duties as Mayor;
- Poor leadership and degeneration of trust. This finding by the AG directly correlates to the Executive Mayor’s failure to allow officials to do their jobs and follow the control procedures of the law and regulations, as confirmed in the testimony of the former City Manager in the independent investigation mandated by Council;
- Consistent loss of revenue within the TDA, which was allowed to continue systematically for years despite the AG alerting the City to this risk multiple times. It is worth noting that the Mayor has consistently denied this fact and has given credence to the explanation of the Commissioner TDA, who has in fact been suspended and the subject of a disciplinary; and
- Irregular expenditure, namely the preferential bias in favour of a supplier in the matter of the procurement of the BYD buses. This has been determined to be irregular by the AG and now constitutes a realized and dramatic risk to the City.
- This can be applied to the Executive Mayor as follows:
- Noting that the Mayor has made public statements that the AG had vindicated her on upgrades to her home. However, the AG in the disclosure and listing of irregular expenditure in the financial statements has in fact found that these upgrades were irregular- exposing previous claims by the Mayor as blatantly false. It is simply intolerable for a sitting Mayor to mislead her party and more importantly the people of Cape Town in such a deliberate and inexcusable fashion.
- Noting, the sudden resignation of the former City Manager, Achmat Ebrahim, the suspension of the Commissioner: TDA and the subsequent leadership breakdown which has taken place under the Mayor.
Drought crisis management:
The Mayor has also been removed from directing the City’s response to the current prolonged drought. Her failure to manage this correctly and to communicate accurate information has played a material role in the current public panic and negatively impeded the City’s response to the current crisis.
She actively withheld information, misdirected officials, delayed budget decisions, interfered with project plans and undermined the rollout of augmentation projects as a result. Furthermore, she failed to push national government to fulfill its legal responsibilities – at the cost and risk to the residents of Cape Town. This is in of itself has posed a massive governance risk.
Federal Executive decision:
The ANC in the Cape Town council has tabled a motion of no confidence against the Mayor which is due for debate today.
The FedEx has thus authorized the caucus – which has already expressed its lack of confidence in the Mayor by a way of a caucus vote – the right to support the ANC’s motion. While this is an unprecedented move, the ANC correctly in its motion details many, but not all, of the maladministration that the Mayor is responsible for.
The FedEx has taken this step on the basis that the caucus, and the Party has too lost faith in her leadership. It is therefore in the best interests of the people of Cape Town and good governance – given the threat that Patricia de Lille poses to both – that we have no choice but to remove her as the Mayor.
This is a demonstration of the fact that we are able to rise above narrow party-political interests and to serve the democratic project in South Africa.
We have previously appealed to the ANC to support motions of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma due the very obvious damage he has to South Africa and his leading role in state capture and corruption. It is for similar reasons that the FedEx has authorised the caucus to vote for a motion to remove Patricia de Lille. We reached this point due to the untenable and destructive role played by the Mayor.
Patricia de Lille has played an important role in South Africa’s democratic history. It is truly saddening that her conduct has forced us to act to remove her. However, no matter someone’s history or popularity, we have a greater obligation to protecting the principles of good governance and ensuring effective delivery to all, especially the people of Cape Town.
DA Western Cape Leader