An irate Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille has come out with guns blazing against those who accuse her of meddling in the running of her department, telling them “I am doing my job”.
The minister suggested the Democratic Alliance (DA) could have a hand in the saga to tarnish her image and legacy as a fighter against corruption.
De Lille came a long way with her anticorruption when she was a whistleblower on the multibillion-rand arms deal saga and challenged procurements in Cape Town, where she was a DA mayor from 2011 to 2018.
“I have no fear whatsoever, I am prepared to go anywhere I am compelled to, even to the public protector or the courts if that becomes necessary,” De Lille, said yesterday.
The minister believed she was being criticised on public platforms by those who saw her cleanup of the department as interference rather than an attempt to correct wrongs. They came forward because they knew she had exposed corruption in the department, particularly around the controversial multimillion-rand Beitbridge border fencing project.
“I am pursuing corruption. I am seen as interfering because I am interrupting those people who are trying to be corrupt,” De Lille said.
“All of a sudden, they are coming out of the woodwork. They were quiet for months. Why now?” she said.
De Lille said she knew that those who were gunning for her could have been fed with information by the DA, from where she resigned and relinquished her post as Cape Town mayor in October 2018. De Lille, who was appointed into Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet after the 2019 elections, believed she was fighting the DA battles, even though she left the party two years ago.
“They got information from the DA but, you know what, I have work to do,” she said. The minister insisted on pursuing the matter. Parliament was exercising its oversight role over her and she, in turn, would continue her oversight role over the department.
I am allowed to make sure the department carries out the policies of the government. But they see this as interference. They can cry, but it is clear that they have an agenda,” De Lille said.