The DA possesses documents that could tarnish Patricia De Lille’s clean reputation, according to the Mail & Guardian, though it’s unclear whether these will ever come to light officially after the deal that was struck to have her step down as mayor later this year.
This includes reported confirmation from investigators that the controversial SMS De Lille allegedly sent, which interfered in the hiring of a senior staff member, has been verified as authentic.
A forensic report they have in their possession appears to show that many of the accusations levelled against De Lille, particularly that she attempted to influence the appointment of the former Cape Town city manager, have been backed up with evidence.
A councillor told senior DA officials in 2016 that De Lille had instructed her via the SMS to score an interview candidate “highest” so that she could reappoint him as city manager.
Rather than denying sending the SMS, De Lille instead asked for the allegation to be authenticated.
Achmat Ebrahim was indeed reappointed as city manager, but resigned just two months later.
The forensic report that proved the SMS did indeed come from De Lille was put together by a digital forensic lab called Cyanre for the DA, and is dated May 24 2018.
This date means the party had solid evidence against De Lille three months before their decision to withdraw charges of misconduct against her in return for her resigning as mayor.
The report does say that the text could have been modified, but only with “a high degree of technical expertise”, adding that if the sender’s phone was handed over for analysis, further verification could take place.
It has also been reported that the De Lille matter has split the DA’s Cape Town caucus, with De Lille’s supporters apparently accusing their colleagues, who wanted her removed, of racism.
De Lille’s detractors, however, say that the Cape Town mayor, who will step down at the end of October, is a “power-hungry bully”.