The daughter of one of Patricia de Lille’s friends could be the downfall of the mayor of Cape Town.
De Lille‚ who is being investigated on several charges by the DA legal commission‚ is accused of manipulating Limia Essop’s appointment to the Cape Town Stadium board.
The mayor told the DA federal executive on December 4 that she rejected, with contempt, the allegation that she amended the board’s shortlist and inserted Essop as a candidate because her father was allegedly a friend of De Lille.
Essop‚ whose services as a fitness coach are advertised on the internet, said if she found she had been appointed because of the mayor’s influence‚ she would resign.
“I believed – and still do – that my qualifications‚ strong marketing experience and fresh thinking that I bring to the board were the reasons I was appointed‚” she said.
“I do not agree with influencing a process to benefit an individual to the detriment of others.
“Should the allegations prove it happened‚ I will tender my resignation.”
Other board members are all high-flyers with significant experience.
The board’s chairman is Peter-John Veldhuizen‚ a partner of a Cape Town law firm.
Essop‚ a candidate attorney at a law firm in Cape Town‚ said her reputation had been damaged and she was taking legal advice.
She is the daughter of a former MP, Anver Essop‚ 61‚ now managing director of New Age Properties. Anver‚ like De Lille‚ was born and raised in Beaufort West‚ and they served as MPs together.
The four-person DA sub-committee that investigated, told the party’s federal executive there was a great deal to be concerned about in De Lille’s inexplicable and concerted drive to appoint Essop to the board.
“Ms Essop and her family enjoy a close relationship with the mayor and the sub-committee views this process with suspicion‚” the report said. It called for a proper investigation. In his complaint about De Lille to DA leader Mmusi Maimane‚ mayoral committee member JP Smith said Essop’s appointment was a severe example of De Lille’s alleged nepotism and cronyism.
She had been added to the shortlist by De Lille for her legal experience.
“However‚ she is still in the process of completing her law degree and has had no experience providing legal advice.
“[She] was unable to answer critical questions in the interview,” Smith said.
Essop had also denied a potential conflict of interest even though her father’s company‚ for which she worked at the time‚ had done extensive work with the City of Cape Town, he said.
Van der Merwe presented a shortlist to De Lille and she added Essop’s name.
Essop said she had not been aware that the mayor had any involvement in the shortlisting or appointment process.