Bowman Gilfillan report lifts lid on wrongdoing in Cape Town

Patricia de Lille accused of preventing Achmat Ebrahim of reporting allegations against Melissa Whitehead to council

REVEALED: Probe into Patricia de Lille, disciplinary action against 2 City officials

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town council has ordered an investigation into Mayor Patricia de Lille's conduct and disciplinary action has been instituted against two senior officials.

News24 understands it's the first time in 17 years that the council has ordered an investigation into a mayor.

The action against City of Cape Town officials is a result of an independent investigation, which has lifted the lid on serious allegations of cover-ups and corruption.

On Friday, a special confidential council meeting was held about a report, which has not been made public, based on the independent investigation by Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys.

Probe ordered

News24 has reliably learnt that the council ordered an investigation into De Lille because of allegations that she prevented City manager Achmat Ebrahim from reporting allegations against Melissa Whitehead, the commissioner of the transport and urban development authority, to the council.

It is understood disciplinary action is to be launched against Whitehead and Ebrahim.

News24 also understands Whitehead faces four charges relating to, among other matters, the appointment of friends and the alleged interfering in the City's Foreshore Freeway Project tender process.

Ebrahim is said to face two charges. It is understood he had alleged, in documents, that De Lille had told him not to report to council claims against Whitehead, relating to alleged irregularities dating back to 2014.

Possible suspensions

Whitehead and Ebrahim have been given seven days to explain why they should not be suspended.

News24 understands that no charges stuck against executive director of De Lille's office, Craig Kesson, who previously made scathing allegations against De Lille.

In November the City of Cape Town also held a special confidential meeting and unanimously resolved that the City's performance audit committee be instructed to appoint an independent investigator, to probe allegations against Kesson, Ebrahim, and Whitehead.

At that stage, all three were also given seven days to provide reasons as to why they should not be placed on precautionary suspension.

In December, the City of Cape Town council decided not to suspend them.

De Lille had also been given until Friday to make submissions as to why she should not resign.

News24 understands she did so during the special council meeting, but was interrupted by heckling.

Tensions scrutinised

In September, it emerged that a subcommittee, headed by parliamentary whip John Steenhuisen, was established by the DA's federal executive to look into tensions and political management in the City of Cape Town.

The subcommittee, convened by DA leader Mmusi Maimane, had started its hearings on October 3.

It is understood that several councillors testified in the hearings and that several allegations were made against, among others, De Lille.

A report from that subcommittee was compiled based on this, and is what De Lille had until Friday to respond to.


About a month ago, allegations against De Lille by Kesson, detailed in a 42-page affidavit, became public.

Kesson's affidavit included that she had planned to publicly discredit a senior City staffer who questioned alleged tender irregularities.

Another claim was that De Lille had asked that a report into a possible R43m loss regarding another tender be made to "go away".

De Lille then issued a statement in response to Kesson's affidavit, saying that his "false" disclosures could not be viewed as the actions of a whistleblower, but were instead a criminal offence.