De Lille ‘in political ICU’ says Vavi

DeLilleWestern Cape Premier Helen Zille and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille.

Patricia de Lille is in a political ICU (intensive care unit) posted Zwelinzima Vavi – the former Cosatu secretary general – who has personal experience of being forced out of a job. This weekend the Democratic Alliance federal executive decides on De Lille’s future in the party

Zwelinzima Vavi most likely has a certain insight on the likely fate of Patricia de Lille. She faces a confidence vote – in a manner of speaking – at the Democratic Alliance federal executive meeting to be held on Sunday.

She is accused of a variety of things, including trying to cover up a report on alleged transport department corruption. The corruption has not been proved but as one former Member of Parliament said, who commented on the matter today, De Lille appears to have lost the confidence of her party.

That probably means that it is tickets for De Lille. Former Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon said the commotion around De Lille could not go on. She either had to be backed by the party – and underpinned as mayor – or she should be sacked.

That probably means she will be sacked, as the party appears already to have moved to sanction her.  She herself has said that the party appears to have put the cart before the horse – she had been found guilty before the investigaton of allegations against her.

De Lille has promised to fight her dismissal from the party – and effectively as mayor – in court. She also promised to fight a report by Bowman Gilffillan which said that the allegations that she covered up regarding transport department corruption were serious.

De Lille became mayor in 2011. She was persuaded by former DA leader Helen Zille to leave parliament where she led the Independent Democrats. She first served as an MEC in Zille’s government – before being transferred to the council in 2011, when she was elected mayor.

Since then Zille – who remains Premier of the Western Cape, despite being disciplined last year for an unfortunate tweet about colonialism – and De Lille have fallen out. De Lille, who merged her ID into the DA, says the party has already decided to replace her with Zille ally, Bonginkosi Madikizela, who replaced De Lille as provincial DA leader last year.

Madikizela has denied knowing that he was about to be moved from being an MEC to the mayoralty.

Meanwhile, the African Christian Democratic Party, which has three seats on the Cape Town city council, has changed its mind about supporting a motion of no confidence in De Lille. Grant Haskin, its council leader and a former deputy mayor, said that the tests for removal of anyone from office should always be about what is right and what is wrong “with the principle being that one is innocent until proven guilty”.

“It can never be about the colour of one’s skin or the gender of a person or whether one is liked or in favour or not,” he said. He told Cape Messenger that “we no longer support the DA now that it is applying subjective principles – instead of objective facts and evidence arising out of concluded disciplinary processes”.

For the ACDP, it was always about right and wrong “not about whether we like the mayor or not”.

The African National Congress, however, is proceeding with the vote of no confidence at the main city council meeting on the last Thursday of January, the 25th.

It is expected that De Lille will contest her dismissal from the party this weekend – which means that she could only be removed by the city council. The DA caucus looks set on supporting a vote of no confidence – although there may be significant dissidents in the DA caucus ranks.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s spokesperson Portia Adams confirmed in a statement on Friday that the DA’s highest decision-making body, the federal executive, will meet on Sunday 14 January 2018 “to assess the facts and take a decision on the matter relating to the serious allegations against Mayor Patricia de Lille”.

“At all times, the DA will act in the best interests of the people of Cape Town and will continue to ensure that our governments work tirelessly to deliver clean and efficient governance to improve the lives of South Africans,” said Adams.

“It is for this reason that the DA has taken seriously the allegations against certain individuals as well as tensions within the City of Cape Town (COCT) and instituted fair and due processes to get to the bottom of the serious and substantive assertions,” said  Adams.

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