De Lille won’t appoint new mayco

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille holds a cartoon by Tony Grogan. In the background is former mayor Gordon Oliver. Image Donwald Pressly

Bounce-back Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille says that she will not appoint a new mayoral committee in the City. This follows her reinstatement by the Western Cape High Court in office after she challenged the Democratic Alliance’s rescinding of her party membership. De Lille had her first full day back in her mayoral office – and took back her personal possessions – on Wednesday. But she told the Messenger that she had no plans to upset the apple cart

Patricia de Lille is likely only to remain on as mayor until early June. That is if the review hearing of the High Court, which starts on May 25, delivers a judgment quickly – and she loses her case.

But in the meantime, the embattled Mayor – who has been fighting attempts by her party to oust her for eight months – is back in office. The Messenger asked her if she would be reshuffling her mayco. In particular she was asked whether she would shed the mayoral committee – which she appointed back in 2016 – of dissident elements – of those elements which have led the campaign to oust her.

De Lille said simply that the court ordered “that the same mayco (remains in place)”.

Ian Neilson, who acted as Mayor during the week following the announcement by the DA that De Lille had lost her membership of the party and thus was also no longer mayor, was on the brink of appointing an interim mayoral committee. It was expected that elements in the mayoral committee that have stood by the mayor would have been dropped – but Neilson did not comment on any changes.

Now the original mayoral committee of ten members plus the mayor and deputy mayor – Neilson – are back in their original office.

Mayoral committee members who have led the campaign to get De Lille out include JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety and security, and Xanthea Limberg, the mayoral committee member for water and energy.

Meanwhile, News24 reported that De Lille would be a “lame duck” mayor, according to Neilson. He was commenting after the interim court order restored her to her post on Tuesday this week. “She can sit in the office and drink tea, and drive around in CA1, but… she’s just not going to be able to do anything other than ask for oversight because, you know, the DA caucus is essentially going to call the shots,” said Neilson.

Former deputy mayor Grant Haskin said the DA’s city caucus was not the city council so it could not undermine council’s authority. “Mayor de Lille must account to council on how she has exercised the authority and powers delegated and designated to her.”

Haskin, who is leader of the African Christian Democratic Party on the city council,  said the mayor got her authority from two sources – national legislation and the council. “The DA cannot change this, so claiming Mayor de Lille will be a lame duck with only oversight powers… is highly problematic.”

It could not undermine the powers and authority designated to the mayor by national legislation. The same goes for the power and authority delegated to the Mayor by council, he said.

“So, in effect, the Mayor remains executive mayor in every sense – at least until the Cape High Court rules otherwise on or after 25 May.”

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