Patricia de Lille should pay a political price for all the allegations against her.
Lockdown Level 1 beckons and, perhaps, a Cabinet reshuffle. Spring change is in the air. Good. When Patricia de Lille is ejected from Cabinet, it’ll be Good riddance.
We know President Cyril Ramaphosa places party loyalty above integrity and the rule of law. But he should have no qualms about removing Good Party leader De Lille. She is bad news for a government pretending to fight corruption.
Many folks claim not to know what the 2018 spat between De Lille and the DA was about. Some still say the party lost a good leader. In fact, she faced serious allegations of corruption, including interference in the appointment of Cape Town’s city manager.
For months, De Lille avoided answering directly whether she had sent an SMS to a mayoral committee member saying: “I want to keep Achmat, so please score him highest.”
As mayor, De Lille was by law not allowed to do that. Two years later, in her role as minister of public works, a similar pattern has emerged. Undue executive interference. Sam Vukela, whom she has suspended as director-general, accuses De Lille of issuing him “unlawful and unreasonable instructions” to appoint a company.
Vukela says this was “clear interference by the minister in the administration and supply chain management processes of the department”. Such interference would be illegal.
De Lille admitted she identified a service provider, but said she did not instruct anyone to break the law. That is disingenuous. If anyone was breaking the law, it would be she. Ramaphosa has removed De Lille’s authority to discipline Vukela. Good start. He should finish the job. Dismiss her.
De Lille faces further allegations. Some are listed in a 10 September Mail &Guardian article “The farm, the millions and Patricia de Lille” and a 14 September media release, Patricia de Lille: But, Mr President, there’s more… by MP Samantha Graham-Mare. De Lille is accused of putting pressure on senior officials to settle a R40 million pay dispute with a construction company which had allegedly overcharged her department.
She is also accused of influencing the irregular award of farm lease agreements. Another allegation is that she asked her legal advisor to mediate between the Independent Development Trust and a contractor whom the Special Investigating Unit had advised should not be used for government business.
De Lille’s special advisor allegedly recommended to a bid adjudication committee (BAC) that it should appoint a company which the BAC found unsuitable. There is a further allegation she put pressure on a regional office to effect a R10 million payment to a service provider. That’s the responsibility of an accounting officer, not a minister.
De Lille should also pay a political price for the R37 million border fence fiasco. In the ’90s, she carved a reputation as a corruption-buster, brandishing a “De Lille dossier” on the arms deal. Now, a different type of De Lille dossier is filling up with a case against her. Time to say “Good” bye.
Martin Williams, DA councillor and former editor of The Citizen.
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