3 CT council execs given 7 days to give reasons not to be suspended

The council on Tuesday met behind closed doors to discuss disciplinary steps against them, relating to alleged tender irregularities.

Craig Kesson. Picture: capetown.gov.za

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Town council has given three of its most senior executives, including city manager Achmat Ebrahim, seven days to indicate why they should not be placed on precautionary suspension.

The council on Tuesday met behind closed doors to discuss disciplinary steps against them, relating to alleged tender irregularities with regard to major transport projects.

Transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead and executive director in the mayor's office Craig Kesson will also have to provide reasons to council to avoid suspension.

The council says it views the allegations against the trio as serious.

Eyewitness News understands forensic reports recommend that Whitehead be investigated in relation to tenders issued by the city.

Kesson had deposed an affidavit under the Protected Disclosures Act to Deputy Mayor, Ian Neilson, earlier this month, in which he levels allegations of wrongdoing against senior councillors and other administrative staff.

But he too is facing disciplinary action for allegedly conducting unauthorised investigations and leaking confidential information.

EWN understands his affidavit will be presented to council at its next meeting.

In the meantime, it's been resolved that the city's audit committee be directed to appoint an independent investigator to probe the allegations within the next 30 days.

This report will have to be tabled before council within seven days of being received by Mayor Patricia de Lille and Ebrahim.

The action stems from an explosive affidavit placed before council in which De Lille is accused of turning a blind eye to misconduct and irregularities.

Two months ago, Kesson launched a book which he co-authored with De Lille.

Now, he’s accusing her of condoning misconduct within the city’s Transport Department headed by Whitehead.

In an affidavit considered by council behind closed doors on Tuesday, Kesson claims the Mayor batted away his concerns about irregularities within the transport authority that have been raised in external forensic reports.

These include millions in losses incurred by the MyCiti bus service and the stalling of the Foreshore Freeway tender.

Kesson claims he’s been threatened for insisting that the irregularities be probed and reported to council.

De Lille says her lawyers are finalising a response to the allegations.

Mayoral spokesperson Zara Nicholson said: “The mayor was not afforded an opportunity to respond to all the allegations contained in the affidavit. Once her lawyers have concluded her response to the contents of the report which is the affidavit that was tabled at the special council meeting today, the mayor will make her response available by the end of the week.”