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‘Stop being lazy’, De Lille tells DA who wants her sacked over Beitbridge border fiasco

Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille.

  • Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille has hit back at the DA who claim they have evidence of wrongdoing against her.
  • De Lille said the DA “evidence”, mainly around the Beitbridge border tender, are merely untested allegations.
  • The DA says De Lille should resign due to her role in the border issue.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille has calmly hit back at the DA, which has been attacking her for her involvement in the Beitbridge border scandal.

On Wednesday De Lille encouraged anyone with evidence of wrongdoing against her to “bring it on”.

Now the DA has called her bluff and produced, what they call, damning findings against her.

But De Lille, unfazed by DA MP Samantha Graham’s assertations, has launched a vicious attack.

“The so-called deputy shadow minister, Samantha Graham is trying to build her profile to shove the real shadow minister, Patricia Kopane out of the way who is not even recognised in the DA as the real shadow minister just because she was seen to be supporting Mmusi Maimane.

“Samantha Graham is working together with the white boys’ club in the DA that have failed four times in the Western Cape High Court to prove any allegations of corruption against me,” she said.

READ | De Lille seemingly ‘had contractor in mind’ for Beitbridge border project – Treasury

De Lille is facing mounting calls for her to resign following allegations that she had abused her powers in relation to the R40 million Beitbridge border tender that has been mired in controversy.

Graham claimed De Lille ducked and dived responsibility for the now infamous Beitbridge Border “washing line” with a price tag of more than R40 million.

“A Special Investigative Unit (SIU) report established that the Minister erred when she issued an emergency directive on the fence to the Director-General of the Department of Public Works and (DPWI) on 16 March 2020.

“The report found that these instructions ‘placed an enormous project and compliance risk on the Department’. A National Treasury report found that ‘it would seem the Minister had a contract, supplier or contractor in mind’ when she instructed that a variation order be issued to seemingly ensure that a specific contractor, Magwa Construction was appointed,” Graham said.

In response De Lille said: “As far as all of these allegations regarding the Beitbridge project are concerned, the President has issued a proclamation on 23 July where all of these allegations related to Beitbridge will be tested.

“All allegations must be tested and this is what is happening with the proclamation that was issued by the President and we are all waiting for the outcome. It is only the DA – as within their own party – that don’t believe in due process and that all allegations must be tested.”

READ ALSO | DG says he was suspended by De Lille because he ‘refused to implement unlawful instructions’

Graham also said De Lille, in papers filed with the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, that De Lille admitted to identifying a service provider for “special” media services in her department.

“The DA must stop being so lazy and they must go read my affidavit before the North Gauteng High Court and again these allegations will be tested in the high court. I have submitted my responding affidavit to the court and the court will make a ruling,” De Lille said.

Graham also said De Lille applied pressure on officials in relation to a R10 million payment to a service provider who approached her directly for her assistance in March.

De Lille said the payment had to be made as a result of an order of the high court which ruled against the department.

“Once again the DA doesn’t have their facts straight. The Western Cape High Court instructed [the] department to pay, not the minister. This is not evidence of corruption, these are untested allegations and they will be tested in an open court of law unlike the DA who does not believe in the Constitution of the country and transparency,” she said.

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