De Lille granted extension

Cape Town mayor now has until 5 January to explain why she shouldn't have to step down

De Lille granted extension to give reasons for DA to keep her as mayor

Cape Town – City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has until January 5 to make submissions regarding why she should not resign after her lawyers requested an extension, the DA said on Monday.

De Lille was suspended from all party activities on Thursday after a report by a subcommittee, headed by parliamentary whip John Steenhuisen, was adopted by the DA's federal council.

It is believed that findings in the report include serious allegations of maladministration by De Lille in the city.

Speaking to News24 on Monday, DA federal chairperson James Selfe said De Lille's legal team requested a week's extension but the party saw it fit to postpone the matter until January when it will be easier for the party's federal council to sit.

"Due to the serious nature of the allegations, we believed it was also reasonable to give De Lille's team a reasonable amount of time to reply."

The final decision regarding De Lille's suspension and resignation will be made by the party's federal council, the DA's highest decision-making body, after her submissions. Selfe was unable to say when the process would be completed.

On Sunday, De Lille threatened to take the legal route to prevent the party from going ahead with a vote of no confidence against her.

In a statement, she said the reasons the DA had provided for possibly suspending her did not warrant her suspension or removal.

It emerged in September that the DA's federal executive established a subcommittee to look into tensions and political management in the City of Cape Town.

It is understood that several councillors testified in the hearings, which started on October 3, and that several allegations were made against, among others, De Lille.

She recently also come under fire from senior staffers.

In an affidavit relating to another investigation, Craig Kesson, the executive director in De Lille's office, made several claims against her, including that she had asked that a report into a possible R43m loss regarding another tender be made to "go away".

De Lille hit back saying his actions were not that of a whistleblower, but were criminal.

Speaking about the allegations of maladministration in Cape Town and their effect on the party, Selfe said the DA was doing its utmost best to ensure and, if needed, restore clean governance.

"There are two clear differences between the DA and the ANC: the first is that we do take action against individuals where allegations arise and, the second, we follow due process," Selfe said.

"We do not simply redeploy people or expel them for whatever reason. We hear both sides and conduct proper and thorough investigations where we make decisions based on fact – not on fiction."