De Lille hits back in submission to DA

Mayor fingers MMC member JP Smith as having sowed division within the party

'Culprits' sowing division in Cape Town DA must be named - De Lille

30 January 2018

Cape Town – Certain unaddressed tensions within the City of Cape Town's Democratic Alliance caucus are a very real problem and those driving divisions within the party should be identified, embattled Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has said in a submission.

De Lille has detailed lingering tensions within the caucus which she says stem from an "ID/DA narrative" – this is in reference to former Independent Democrats (ID) members who went on to join the DA.

She was previously the leader of the ID before it merged with the DA.

De Lille, in her submission, has also gone a step further, naming mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services JP Smith as having "championed" a programme to sow division.

It has recently become apparent that De Lille and Smith do not see eye-to-eye.

This surfaced publicly in September last year when De Lille ordered the shutting down and changing of the mandate of the city's special investigations unit (SIU), which was headed by Smith.

De Lille's submission, dated January 5 this year and which includes her views on divisions within the DA caucus, was made to the DA's federal executive chairperson James Selfe.

It is headed: "Reasons why Patricia de Lille should not resign from her position as executive mayor of the City of Cape Town and reasons why the Democratic Alliance ought not to move a motion of no confidence against her".

In this submission, De Lille also details problems she identified in how colleagues were dealing with the drought crisis and how a critical plan to address it seemed to stall late last year.

De Lille has been at the centre of several allegations and claims about her conduct. Many of the claims have been levelled at her by colleagues.

In December, the DA's federal executive suspended De Lille from all party activities, pending investigations into her actions. The city council may also debate a motion of no confidence against her this week.

In her submission to Selfe, De Lille said an issue "which is at the heart of the tensions" within the city's DA caucus was the "ID/DA narrative".

She referred to a report by a subcommittee, headed by parliamentary whip John Steenhuisen, which was established by the DA's federal executive to look into political management in the City of Cape Town.

This report by the subcommittee contained several scathing findings against De Lille.

De Lille, in her submission, said the report found that the issue of the ID/DA narrative had featured prominently, but was viewed as being overplayed.

'A very real problem'

But she said she viewed this as a "convenient over-simplification of a very real problem in the party".

"The truth is that the party has never properly addressed the ID/DA narrative even though it must have been aware at the outset that there would be problems resulting from the merger," De Lille said.

She had brought this issue up at a federal executive meeting in Durban in 2016 in the hopes that it would be addressed, she said.

"The finding of the subcommittee appears to have been that any reference to former ID or DA members should be suppressed through rule-making and prohibitions," De Lille said.

She said it was proposed that internal campaigning guidelines should be amended to have that type of behaviour fall under a category of negative campaigning.

De Lille did not believe this would address the ID/DA matter.

'Culprits must be identified'

"I would propose, as a first step, that the culprits driving a programme of divisiveness must be identified," she said.

"In this regard, I have already informed (the federal executive) that, in my view, Alderman JP Smith has unfortunately championed such a programme with impunity even though his conduct was and is contrary to party policy and principles."

Smith, she said, had apologised to her for "divisive campaigning".

De Lille said the subcommittee tasked with looking into tensions within the caucus had not properly considered the effect of these divisive actions, or the motives behind the desire "to besmirch my good name and character", before making findings and recommendations.

Mediation process suggested

She proposed that members of the City of Cape Town's caucus be given the opportunity to participate in a mediation process.

"I emphasised that such a process will go a long way towards improving relationships, remove hostility and misperceptions, and at the same time address the concerns about unity in the...caucus, an issue which is very close to my heart," De Lille said.

She was giving the federal executive monthly reports on reconciliation and differences within the caucus.

'Black caucus' shows need for reconciliation

The subcommittee's report into tensions in the city's leadership had identified the existence of a so-called "black caucus".

"It does appear from several interactions that there have indeed been meetings at various locations of black members of the caucus," this report said.

De Lille, in her submission, said the subcommittee had found these meetings were "sowing resentment and suspicion".

But she said: "No effort was made to find out why a black caucus (informally) exists."

"In my view, the existence of such a caucus illustrates the need for mediation... There is clearly a need for mediation and proper reconciliation so that cohesion and trust can be created among councillors in the caucus, whether they are black or white."

De Lille said her suggestions appeared to have been rejected and the subcommittee had "taken aim" at her, city speaker Dirk Smit and chief whip Shaun August, instead of resolving tensions in the caucus. News24

JP Smith's investigating unit had 'nefarious objectives', De Lille insists

Cape Town – Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has insisted that mayoral committee member JP Smith was using the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which she controversially shut down last year, for political gain.

"The powers of investigation which the SIU appears to have accorded to itself, [were] impermissible and contrary to law," she has said in a submission.

"Alderman Smith used the SIU contrary to the purpose that it was created for. Moreover, he acted with the intent to undermine his political opponents and this amounts to a serious abuse for his own political gain."

However, a subcommittee chaired by DA parliamentary chief whip John Steenhuisen and which was tasked with investigating De Lille's leadership and growing divisions within the City of Cape Town caucus, found that De Lille's clipping of the unit's wings was "a shame".

De Lille detailed her version of what had transpired with the SIU in a submission, dated January 5 this year, to the DA's federal executive chairperson, James Selfe.

She has been at the centre of several allegations and claims about her conduct. Many of the claims have been levelled at her by colleagues.

In December, the DA's federal executive suspended De Lille from all party activities, pending investigations into her actions. The city council may also debate a motion of no confidence against her this week.

De Lille's submission details why she should not resign as mayor and why the DA should not proceed with a motion of no confidence against her.

In September last year, News24 revealed that De Lille had ordered the shutting down of the unit, now called the safety and security internal investigations unit, which then underwent a mandate and name change.

This, in turn, shed light on the intense infighting rattling the city.

Earlier this month, News24 reported that the subcommittee chaired by Steenhuisen recommended that the SIU revert to its former name.

At the time, Smith had said: "While the name is of little consequence, the ability to help win the fight against gangs, drugs and organised crime is something that we cannot afford to lose, especially while the criminal justice system under national government is achieving such poor conviction rates."

The report by the subcommittee found that residents of Cape Town were caught in a "turf war" between De Lille and Smith over the unit's shut down.

"It is a shame to the subcommittee that in the current environment of increased gang-related violence and lethargy from the [police leadership] to properly resource the policing function in the [City of Cape Town] and the province, that a team that appeared to have success in fighting crime and exposing corruption and criminality has been radically curtailed," the report found.

Members of the SIU, which was created about five years ago, had investigated matters including gang violence, xenophobic attacks, corruption within the city council if a specific department requested this, as well as illegal protests and wildfires linked to arson.

The murders of councillors and illegal firearms were other matters investigated by the unit.

However, when its name and mandate changed around August 2017, the members' functions were narrowed.

'Sweeping allegations'

In her submission, De Lille said it was unfortunate that the subcommittee had not sought legal advice and, instead, made "sweeping allegations on this matter which does not only fall outside its mandate but also outside the committee's competence".

"I regretfully also have to record that the subcommittee failed to investigate the nefarious objectives of Alderman Smith and his (mis)use of the SIU to further those objectives," she said.

De Lille said it was with these factors in mind that the City had "refined" the SIU's mandate "to bring it in accordance with what the law allows".

"This was a necessary and prudent decision," she said.

"The SIU, albeit with a refined mandate, continues to operate and [has] not become the victim of a turf war between myself and Alderman Smith."

De Lille questioned why there was "very little in the line of adverse findings" against Smith.


Nkohla’s credibility in black communities an asset to the DA - De Lille

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town welcomed former ANC councillor Loyiso Nkhola into the DA when the party needed votes, but is now giving him the cold shoulder, Mayor Patricia de Lille has said.

In a submission to the DA's federal executive chairperson James Selfe, De Lille said Nkohla, whose appointment in the DA resulted in high-level concerns within the party, had been instrumental "in neutralising and defusing service delivery riots and protests" in several areas in the City.

"Nkohla has been a tremendous asset in the DA (City of Cape Town) administration in that he has enormous credibility in the black communities, especially in the informal settlements," she said.

'Better relations with black communities'

"His involvement for the [City] at this level has allowed the [City] to develop better relations with the people in the black communities in informal settlements, which has ultimately benefited the City and the party as a whole."

A report by a subcommittee, headed by chief whip John Steenhuisen, which was established by the DA's federal executive to look into political management in the City, had made scathing findings against De Lille.

It also found Nkohla's "increasingly central role" in the City worrying.

The subcommittee's report said: "It remains unclear why he is allowed to wield so much influence within the city and why he appears to enjoy the ongoing patronage and protection of the mayor."

Earlier this month, News24 reported that Nkohla was recently promoted from a position in the City to a role which, according to the City's website, has attached a figure of more than R750 000 to it.

De Lille’s submission to Selfe, which detailed why she should not resign as mayor and why the DA should not proceed with a motion of no confidence against her, said she wondered why Nkohla's employ had become such an "emotional issue".

'Nkohla was welcomed when votes were needed'

"When we needed the votes, the party welcomed Mr Nkohla with open arms, surely it is not now suggesting that the City has no use for him at all?" she asked.

Nkohla, a former ANC councillor, was previously a leader of Ses'khona People's Rights Movement – an organisation which made headlines in 2013 when its members threw human faeces at the Cape Town International Airport, as well as other locations, to highlight the need for better sanitation in impoverished areas.

In 2016, he joined the DA. This move was frowned upon by some in the party.

De Lille, in her submission, said prior to Nkohla moving over to the City, the City and provincial government had experienced problems with the Ses'khona People's Rights Movement.

She said Nkohla, at that stage, had been on the ANC's election list, but he had an issue about how he was placed on it.

The provincial executive leadership, other regional leaders, among them De Lille, then met Nkohla.

'Inroads in ANC voters'

They, according to De Lille, discussed including him on the DA party list because of his wide support base and "his ability to make inroads into the ANC voters".

"There is no doubt that he then, and now, has a wide support base and commands huge respect in the black communities, in Cape Town and the Western Cape," she said.

Nkohla was not placed on the DA list, but De Lille said it became clear from the meeting with him that he was committed to work with the DA and was "prepared to mobilise and bring black people to the DA".

She said Nkohla had worked long hours during the election campaign in the Western Cape and attracted thousands of people.

'He contributed to the DA's election win'

"There can be no doubt that because he was part of the DA campaign and had aligned himself with the DA, he contributed to the DA's election victory," De Lille said.

She said there had been a need for a position to coordinate community liaison officers.

"Because this is a so-called political position, the job was not advertised, De Lille said.

Nkohla met the job requirements.

"The party had an objection to Nkohla being employed as executive support officer but no objection to him being employed as a community liaison officer at a lower rating and salary," De Lille said.

News24 previously reported that the subcommittee headed by Steenhuisen found that Nkohla was moved to mayoral committee member for water, informal settlements and waste services Xanthea Limberg's offices, to fill the role of a community liaison officer.

But the subcommittee's report said: "The mayor indicates in her submission that this was 'approved by Cllr Limberg'. This does not however seem likely, as Cllr Limberg has indicated to the subcommittee that she was in fact most uneasy about this arrangement."

Limberg, according to this report, had very little control of Nkohla and was not sure of what work he was doing.

In her submission and in response to this, De Lille said: "I cannot comment on Cllr Limberg’s apparent inability to deal with Nkohla as she has never complained to me about him.

'Speculation and conjecture'

It was not clear to De Lille why the subcommittee had found that Nkohla played a "central role" in the City's administration.

She said the subcommittee's report stated that it was unclear why Nkohla appeared to "enjoy the ongoing patronage and protection of the Mayor".

De Lille hit back at this saying: "Once again no objective facts are provided by the subcommittee to support such an assertion or statement.

"This appears to be based on nothing but speculation and conjecture."