Patricia De Lille on Thursday said she has not stolen a single cent, insisting she had enough money to even consider lending money to the City of Cape Town – at a low interest rate – to deal with its water crisis.
“I don’t need money from anyone,” she said ahead of her address during a full council meeting.
This after African National Congress members chanted: “Pay back the money! She is a thief!” bringing De Lille’s first attempt to give her address to a grinding halt.
Leader of the opposition Xolani Sotashe told Speaker Dirk Smit that they “can’t be addressed by a thief”.
De Lille, however, denied that she stole any money from the public purse, saying she had paid for renovations to her Pinelands home from her own pocket.
Security upgrades had been done following assessments by police, as was the case with all mayors who had preceded her, she pointed out.
“If I had agreed to all the upgrade [suggestions], it would be like living in a jail,” De Lille said.
Suggestions, she said, included a Trellidor in front of her bedroom door and the replacing of her roof tiles as it was not fireproof.
She agreed to Trellidors for her sun room and study, as well as security improvements to a window and garage door.
This, De Lille said, came to a total of R140 139.38.
Her current security cameras have also been removed for an updated version, paid for by the city.
The ANC’s Dullah Omar region earlier this month lodged a criminal complaint against De Lille over security upgrades carried out at her Pinelands home.
The party believed it was paid for with taxpayers’ money, but De Lille denied this.
SIU shut down
News24 previously reported that De Lille had been in the spotlight owing to her controversial decision to get rid of the City of Cape Town’s special investigations unit (SIU).
She, according to emails, wanted the unit shut down. Its mandate and name was changed instead.
The allegation of alleged illegal building work at her home, as well as a claim about alleged corruption – in that procurement processes were not being followed in the mayor’s office – are contained in a submission by City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith, who headed the SIU.
He questioned why De Lille would order this in a submission two months ago, saying one of the reasons he could think of was that some members of the city’s investigations unit had previously worked for the VIP unit.
“The head informed me that members of the unit had mentioned to him that they had witnessed irregularities in relation to the Mayor, e g that building work outside of the security policy of the city had been undertaken at her home at the expense of the council,” Smith had said in this submission.
Sotashe previously showed documents reading “approval was required for costs incurred of installing improved” security measures at De Lille’s house. The total is R702 075.45.
Smit at the time issued a statement saying about R451 000 was paid by council for security measures.
In response to the allegations against, her, De Lille said she paid for renovations to the house.
“I am prepared to make the proof of these payments made by myself known as part of the proper legal processes.”
Matter of principle
Sotashe on Thursday said the matter was not personal, but a matter of principle.
“We will not be addressed by a person who has stolen,” he insisted as ANC members nodded in agreement.
“We will not be addressed by her until she pays back the money she received for her house.”
The meeting resumed after the ANC members left to caucus.
De Lille in their absence said she was glad that the ANC had taken the matter to the Public Protector and the police as she has all the necessary documentation to show she paid for her renovations herself.