Maimane pulls plug on De Lille and Smith as DA probes spat

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and a member of her mayoral committee‚ JP Smith‚ have been placed on special leave from Democratic Alliance activities after a public war of words.

Democratic Alliance’s Patricia de Lille. File photo. Image: Gallo Images

DA leader Mmusi Maimane acted against the pair after a meeting on Monday night at which he asked them to explain themselves‚ a party statement said on Tuesday.

“Following that meeting‚ Mr Maimane has placed Mayor de Lille and Cllr Smith on special leave from DA activities in the Cape Town Metro until such time as a DA federal executive investigation can be concluded‚” said DA spokesman Phumzile van Damme..

In a statement on Monday‚ De Lille said she had asked her lawyers about the “appropriate course of action” to take after Smith and members of the city council internal investigations unit allegedly made “malicious and defamatory remarks” about her.

At the centre of the spat is the disbanding of Cape Town’s special investigations unit‚ which fell under Smith’s safety and security portfolio.

The Times reported on Monday that Smith had written to Maimane and DA federal executive chairman James Selfe raising concerns about the closure of the unit. In his letter‚ he also pointed to speculation that security alterations at De Lille’s home were made illegally.

He told The Times it was unfortunate that the letter had been leaked. “I wrote to the leadership and I said‚ ‘I’m not getting joy with the mayor; they closed the unit on the 4th of August’‚ and I asked for a meeting.

“I had to wait until last week for a meeting‚ at which the mayor was unwilling to discuss the closure of the unit. So I went to the leadership and I said‚ ‘Look. I think this is of public interest‚ you should intervene’‚” he said.

Regarding the renovations‚ De Lille said in Monday’s statement that she had proof she had paid for the renovations herself.

The letter comes amid rumours of tension within the City of Cape Town following the toppling of Shaun August as the DA’s Cape metro regional chairman. August has openly voiced his support for De Lille.

In De Lille’s statement on Monday‚ she accused Smith of wanting to “play cowboys and crooks by releasing all kinds of statements that the metro police is responsible for fighting crime”‚ a responsibility she said was for the South African Police Service.

The beef between De Lille and Smith is not new. Last year it emerged that De Lille had allegedly started preparing to sack him from his post as mayoral committee member for safety and security. However‚ he managed to hold onto his post after intense lobbying.

By: Aphiwe Deklerk

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