De Lille lands in hot water with DA metro

deLilleIn happier days, Patricia de Lille, wearing a DA shirt. Waving behind her is former DA MP Juanita Terblanche, who was expelled as an MP by the party last year.

The Democratic Alliance metro leader, Councillor Grant Twigg, has put the cat among the political pigeons calling for Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille to leave office – but he has also come out against the proposed Cape Town property-value based water surcharge, the first signal that the DA city caucus is divided on the controversial strategy

In a double-fisted political punch yesterday, Twigg, who has a history of challenging the mayor, called for the sacking of De Lille. He posted a statement on Facebook noting that the “DA Cape metro executive have resolved to … recommend to the DA Western Cape provincial executive committee, the DA federal executive and the DA City of Cape Town caucus that Patrica de Lille be removed as executive mayor.”

The federal executive meets on Sunday to determine De Lille’s future. She is accused – among other things – of covering up an investigation into transport department corruption. The water levy issue is not related to the charges against De Lille.

But Twigg – a Democratic Alliance Cape Town city councillor who was drawn in from the United Democratic Movement – said the water surcharge proposal was not viable and would create “an undue burden on ratepayers”.

Speaking on behalf of the metro leadership, he said: “We are of the opinion that the city should reprioritise its budget as well as actively and robustly engage the national government on the needs of the city, as water sourcing is their core competency.”

While former Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon has taken the step of warning that the public spat with De Lille was undermining the authority of the DA in Cape Town, De Lille has come out firing.

She asked where Twigg had got his mandate for his statement on her axing. She asked whether the DA branches had made its wishes known on her axing. It is not clear whether this is a requirement in terms of the DA rules, however.

De Lille has defended the proposal for a drought levy – in the teeth of opposition from the DA Western Cape legislature cabinet which also opposes it – saying it was needed to make up a R1.5 billion city government fiscal shortfall.

The mayor has shifted the deadline for the comment on the drought surcharge – which is effectively a property tax to pay for water infrastructure costs – to Monday, 15 January. De Lille insists that it is not a levy or a tax.

But she may already be out of the job as mayor by then, as the federal executive is to decide on her fate on Sunday.

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