The debacle around Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, and the latest resignation of city manager Achmat Ebrahim, raise fundamental questions around good governance which is beyond the DA as a party.
According to political analyst Somadoda Fikeni, Ebrahim’s resignation following charges made by the DA against De Lille this weekend, signalled the “unravelling of the city’s political and management establishment”.
De Lille faces charges of failing to perform her duty and bringing the party’s name into disrepute. Ebrahim had been facing possible suspension amid the saga.
But Fikeni said while “some who resigned would still feature in investigations, what is most important are the questions the issue raises”.
“Could it be that the issue of corruption is not confined to certain political parties? Is it far more widespread? And should it be tackled as a societal problem rather than a partisan issue that we often kick around?” he asked.
“Just as with the issue of Steinhoff, this has indicated that it would be wrong of us to think of corruption as being confined to the public sector. The second issue it raises is, is it possible that the rating of Cape Town as being the best run city may not have been based on scientific evidence if the scale of challenges and paralysis are now being confirmed?”
Even with all the accolades that the “city under the mountain” had garnered, “there is no escape from noticing its challenges”, said Fikeni.
“Isn’t it the same as the auditors under whose nose Steinhoff was able to stiffen off and come up with creative accounting? These happenings are raising fundamental questions that are bigger than the DA.
“And even worse, could it be that this society has not yet exempted itself to the subtle subconscious association of good governance and excellence, racially?
“This is where one makes an assumption that, should you be of a particular racial group, you are less likely to be corrupt. “It raises many questions which are beyond the DA and Patricia De Lille about how we approach institutions of governance and what assumptions have been blown out of the water.”
This is happening in the audit firms, private sector and in many other different spaces, he said.
In a statement, De Lille said Ebrahim tendered his resignation with effect from Friday, January 12, 2018, his last working day.
In his resignation letter, Ebrahim made it clear he is able to quite easily defend the allegations made against him in the Bowman Gilfillan Inc report.
“He further stated that, in terms of the ongoing investigations, he would furnish my office with copies of all the evidence files as they pertain to his involvement in these allegations which have already been handed to Bowman Gilfillan Inc and which clearly show that the allegations against him are baseless.”