PORT ELIZABETH, November 8 – Former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille on Thursday laid fraud charges against senior members of the Democratic Alliance (DA), who she alleged were involved in disseminating defamatory forged posts on social media.
“I am here to lay fraud charges against senior members of the DA in relation to a defaming forged post they distributed on social media purporting to be from the Auditor General of South Africa,” De Lille’s said in the statement.
She said her busy schedule as mayor had not afforded her the time to respond appropriately at the time but that the disregard and disrespect against the office of the AG warranted action now that she was able to do something.
“During April 2018, at least four members of the DA created and/or shared a forged AG statement on social media. The Auditor General subsequently confirmed that the statements were fake and the document pretending to represent this Chapter 9 institution was forged,” said the former Cape Town mayor.
“It is indefensible that elected politicians, entrusted to support and uphold our constitution, sought to undermine a sacred Chapter 9 institution. These Chapter 9 institutions – the Public Protector (PP), AG and the Electoral Commission (IEC) – exist to support and protect our constitutional democracy.”
De Lille said in May she had laid a formal complaint about the distribution of the forged message with DA Federal Executive chairperson, James Selfe, as it also breached the party’s constitution and social media policy. She said no action was taken against the members.
The former mayor said this was further proof that people in the DA were “hell-bent on destroying me while others could get away with all sorts of wrongdoings”.
De Lille said that in an open letter in October, she had asked the members of the DA who shared the post to apologise to no avail.
Instead, she said DA leader Mmusi Maimane wrote to the AG saying that the party could not take responsibility for what its supporters wrote on social media even though the four people were actually senior elected party officials. She named them as Henk Hugo, Shehana Kajee, Michael (Mike) Waters and Bronwyn Engelbrecht.
De Lille further alleges that Waters continues to share social media information that is in violation of DA policy such as a post from a right-wing white supremacist organisation, the Blankes Bermagtigings Beweging.
The South African Human Rights Commission earlier this year also took Kajee to the Equality Court where she was ordered to apologise for hate speech
“No matter how ignorant an elected official is of our constitution or of its values and principles, we cannot allow our Chapter 9 institutions to be attacked and documents forged to suit political whims,” said De Lille.
“I thus appeal to the South African Police Service to evaluate the evidence I am submitting and to thoroughly investigate and pursue these fraud charges and take the necessary action to protect our democratic institutions.”
At the end of last month, De Lille announced her resignation both as mayor of Cape Town and as a member of the DA.
– Africa News Agency (ANA)