After three City of Cape Town officials faced suspension over corruption allegations, the City council has decided not to suspend them. The decision was apparently made in a confidential session of a council meeting on Tuesday.
City Speaker Drik Smit confirmed that a portion of the meeting had been confidential. He did not reveal what was to be discussed throughout that time.
The City of Cape Town held a special confidential meeting two weeks ago as well. The meeting saw a unanimous decision that the City’s performance audit committee be instructed to appoint an independent investigator to explore allegations against three senior city officials.
The officials under the microscope were executive director of Mayor Patricia de Lille’s office, Craig Kesson, city manager Achmat Ebrahim, and Melissa Whitehead, the commissioner of the transport and urban development authority.
Seven days were given to provide reasons as to why they should not be placed on precautionary suspension.
It’s understood that it surfaced that Kesson, Ebrahim and Whitehead would not be suspended during Tuesday’s council meeting. It’s also believed that portfolio manager of probity, Lindiwe Ndaba’s suspension was lifted.
The allegations Ndaba faced were similar to those faced by Kesson, who was accused of misconduct. Ebrahim alleged that Kesson had “leaked and/or caused to be leaked confidential information of the City”.
The DA’s (Democratic Alliance) federal executive decided to launch an inquiry into political tensions within the Cape Town caucus in June.
The inquire involved looking into allegations of wrongdoing – including those of maladministration. An independent investigation was also launched, with a deadline of December 29. A full report will then be presented to the council.
The hidden conflict between City officials came to light and intensified last week.
In a statement, Kesson said claims that De Lille had made about him in a statement of her own were an attack on his character. He was seeking legal advice on the matter.
DA federal council chairperson James Selfe, labelled on the same day De Lille’s claim that there were attempts within the party to undermine spatial integration in the city as “nonsense”.
Kesson made some harsh allegations against De Lille in a 42-page affidavit, which became public on Tuesday.
He alleged De Lille had planned to publicly discredit a senior staffer who questioned alleged tender irregularities. He also claimed De Lille had asked that a report into a possible R43m loss regarding another tender be made to “go away”.
De Lille issued a statement in response to the Kesson’s affidavit. She said his “false” disclosures could not be viewed as the actions of a whistleblower, but were a criminal offence.
De Lille went on to say she also believed Kesson had leaked information and claims against her to certain politicians. She said this was “suggestive of a political campaign”.