NEWS
07/01/2018 08:16 SAST | Updated 07/01/2018 08:16 SAST

De Lille Claims Bowman Gilfillan Refused To Amend 'Errors' In Report

“I also feel that I have been unfairly and unnecessarily defamed and embarrassed by this report..."

Henry Romero / Reuters

Mayor Patricia de Lille has criticised the firm Bowman Gilfillan, who was commissioned to investigate whether any grounds existed for disciplinary action to be taken against some of the city's senior managers, for not being willing to amend incorrect facts in their report.

The report compiled by Bowman Gilfillan was to establish if disciplinary action was to be taken against one or more of Cape Town's senior managers – Achmat Ebrahim, the City Manager; Melissa Whitehead, Commissioner of Transport & Urban Development; and Craig Kesson, the Executive Director Directorate of the Mayor. It also dealt with conduct by De Lille.

De Lille said, as per a council resolution taken on the 5th of December, the report had been made available to her on the 29th of December.

"I perused the report over the New Year's Eve weekend and found that it contained a number of material factual errors upon which Bowman Gilfillan consequently made highly prejudicial "findings", "conclusions" and "recommendations"," she said.

De Lille said Bowman Gilfillan had reserved their right to amend the report, should any information be brought to their attention which would impact on the findings.

"Based on this apparent invitation to correct erroneous findings I submitted a letter to them on Wednesday 3 January 2018 setting out the factual errors as they relate to me," she said.

De Lille said she had requested the firm to amend the report, and some of their findings, based on factual errors she had pointed out, so that the Council could consider and act on a report that was factually correct in as many respects as possible, given their tight timelines.

She said one of the contested findings in the report was that she had provided DA leader Mmusi Maimane with a copy of certain forensic reports.

"They also reported that I had confirmed in my interview with them that I had done so," she said.

De Lille said she had told them in her interview that she had certainly not provided Maimane or any other unauthorised persons with copies of any forensic reports.

"Today I received written confirmation from the Leader of the DA that I did not give him or his office the reports. This confirms that the Bowman Gilfillan report is based on erroneous facts and findings," she said.

De Lille said despite this, and despite Bowman Gilfillan's apparent invitation to correct erroneous findings, the firm had informed her, via the Council's Committee Secretariat, that they would not amend their report.

"I also feel that I have been unfairly and unnecessarily defamed and embarrassed by this report and believe Bowman Gilfillan's refusal to correct a false finding, or to even consider that they may have made an error, to be unreasonable," she said.

Legal advice

De Lille was adamant that the report could not stand as it was and needed to be corrected.

"I am taking advice from my legal team on how to deal with this most unfortunate outcome of a process that was meant to provide a clear and independent way forward for our council as we pursue good clean governance," she said.

Johan Kruger, head of governance, compliance and investigations at Bowman Gilfillan, was not immediately available for comment on Saturday.

His phone rang unanswered and he did not reply to an SMS and a WhatsApp text that News24 sent him.

R