City of Cape Town manager resigns in midst of De Lille fallout

Cape Town - City of Cape Town manager Achmat Ebrahim, who was facing possible suspension in the fallout involving Mayor Patricia de Lille, has resigned.

City of Cape Town deputy mayor Ian Neilson confirmed to News24 on Monday that Ebrahim had resigned on Friday.

In a statement issued on Monday, De Lille said Ebrahim's last working day was on Friday.

"In his resignation letter, Mr Ebrahim made it clear that he is able to quite easily defend the allegations made against him in the Bowman Gilfillan, Inc report," she said.

'Baseless allegations'

"He further stated that, in terms of the ongoing investigations, he would furnish my office with copies of all the evidence files as they pertain to his involvement in these allegations which have already been handed to Bowman Gilfillan, Inc and which clearly show that the allegations against him are baseless." 

De Lille was referring to a confidential report by independent investigators from Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys.

UNPACKED: The 8 main accusations against De Lille

It found she may be guilty of gross misconduct for allegedly advising Ebrahim that he need not report to the City council an allegation of misconduct against Melissa Whitehead, the commissioner of the transport and urban development authority, relating to alleged irregularities involving payments to Volvo for bus chassis.

On Monday De Lille said Ebrahim had expressed his thanks for political guidance "stating it was a tremendous honour for him to serve with me as the Executive Mayor".

"After almost 40 years of dedicated and loyal service with an unblemished record, he stated in his letter that his obvious primary consideration at this stage of his life was that of his personal and his family’s wellbeing."

'Lowest level clerk to executive management'

De Lille said Ebrahim started his career as a public servant in the City in 1977 "as a lowest level clerk".

"In addition to his formal qualifications and nearly four decades of experience in local government administration, he served more than 26 years at the senior level," she said.

"He was employed at the executive management level for more than 20 years with responsibilities for various portfolios since 1997."

De Lille said Ebrahim's resignation was a great loss, to the City and its residents.

"I have come to know and respect Mr Ebrahim as a principled, hardworking public servant. His experience has been invaluable."

About a week ago during a confidential council meeting an investigation into De Lille was ordered because of the allegations that she prevented Ebrahim from reporting to council allegations against Whitehead.

Both Ebrahim and Whitehead were given until Friday to submit reasons as to why they should not be suspended. Ebrahim resigned on that day.

Democratic Alliance leader in the Western Cape, Bonginkosi Madikizela, welcomed the resignation in a statement, saying it was the "right thing to do", given the context.

He said they would be monitoring developments closely.