CAPE TOWN – The City of Cape Town council has decided not to suspend three officials in a matter relating to maladministration allegations, which sparked a series of claims and counterclaims between some of its most senior employees.
News24 understands this decision was made during a confidential session of a council meeting on Tuesday.
Earlier, City Speaker Dirk Smit confirmed to News24 that a portion of the meeting had been confidential.
He declined to divulge what was to be discussed during this time.
Two weeks ago, the City of Cape Town also held a special confidential meeting and unanimously resolved that the City’s performance audit committee be instructed to appoint an independent investigator, to probe allegations against the 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.
They were then given seven days to provide reasons as to why they should not be placed on precautionary suspension.
It is understood that during Tuesday’s council meeting, it emerged that Kesson, Ebrahim and Whitehead would not be suspended.
It is also understood that the suspension of the portfolio manager of probity, Lindiwe Ndaba, was lifted.
Ndaba had faced allegations similar to those faced by Kesson, who was accused of misconduct.
Ebrahim had alleged that Kesson had “leaked and/or caused to be leaked confidential information of the City”.
The allegations which surfaced two weeks ago resulted in claims and counterclaims surfacing among the City of Cape Town’s top tier officials.
In June, the Democratic Alliance’s federal executive decided to launch an inquiry into political tensions within the Cape Town caucus.
The inquiry, which had been concluded, involved looking into allegations of wrongdoing, including those of maladministration.
An independent investigation into the matter was also launched.
The deadline for this probe is December 29. A full report will then be presented to the council.
Last week, the infighting gripping City officials intensified.
Kesson issued a statement in which he said claims that De Lille had made about him in a statement of her own were an attack on his character.
He was, therefore, seeking legal advice on the matter.
The same day that Kesson issued a statement, DA federal council chairperson James Selfe labelled De Lille’s claim that there were attempts within the party to undermine spatial integration in the city as “nonsense”.
The claims and counterclaims between De Lille and Kesson stem from a 42-page affidavit by Kesson, which became public last Tuesday.
In it, Kesson made scathing allegations against De Lille.
These included that she had planned to publicly discredit a senior city staffer who questioned alleged tender irregularities. Another claim was that De Lille had asked that a report into a possible R43m loss regarding another tender be made to “go away”.
De Lille then issued a statement in response to Kesson’s affidavit, saying that his “false” disclosures could not be viewed as the actions of a whistleblower, but were instead a criminal offence.
She said she also believed Kesson had leaked information and claims against her to certain politicians, which she said was “suggestive of a political campaign”.