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Motion of no confidence against Patricia de Lille dropped

The DA’s ongoing bid to get rid of its own mayor in Cape Town has hit another stumbling block as another motion of no confidence has been dropped.

The Citizen reports that a deal was reached between Patricia de Lille and the DA in which the party won’t bring another motion against her – but will continue its disciplinary investigations.

De Lille responded to the move in Twitter, saying that the motion was based on untested allegations without evidence.

So what are these allegations?

According to News24, the eight main allegations are:

  1. That she excercised undue influence in reappointing city manager Achmat Ebrahim.
  2. Her appointment of Limia Essop to the Stadium Management Board was improper.
  3. That she failed to excercise her duties as mayor by not insuring allegations relating to poor performance, regarding incumbent commissioner for the transport development authority, Melissa Whitehead, were properly investigated.
  4. That she failed to report irregularities and financial losses relating to the MyCiti bus project to the City Council, violating the Municipal Systems Act.
  5. That she failed to report irregularities in the Foreshore housing project.
  6. She didn’t take steps to deal with the financial losses incurred as a result of the MyCiti bus project and Volvo chassis matter.
  7. That she’s a big meanie.
  8. That she didn’t want to work with JP Smith.

So the DA wants her gone – but she isn’t going. The party kicked her out in May for saying she’d resign once the disciplinary issue was dealt with – she wanted to clear her name. In June the courts found in de Lille’s favour, though TimesLIVE reports that the DA is considering an appeal.

So far this has been pretty bad for the DA. After the water crisis in the Western Cape that nearly saw Cape Town as the first major metropolitan area in the world to run out of water, it isn’t a great look to have the party fighting its own mayors.

My Take

This is part of why I consider the DA a perpetual opposition party.

Every time the DA has ever looked like getting anywhere on the national stage, you get this sort of thing rearing its head. They self-sabotage on a consistent basis so that they’re always just respectable enough for people to vote for a “strong opposition” without ever actually taking the win on the national stage.

So far as I can see the allegations against de Lille have not been substantiated, or should be tested in a court of law. If she has violated the law, that should be grounds for legal action not just party discipline.

I am also troubled by the allegations around her conduct – all too often behaviour that is seen as strong and commanding in a man, is seen in a somewhat more negative light in a woman.

So far she’s been winning this fight – the last vote of no confidence failed, and the last court case went her way.

A lot of people seem to take the whole drama as Mmusi Maimane bowing to the white leadership of the DA.

I suspect it is more to do with the fact that if you look at it, de Lille is one of the major elements that Helen Zille brought into the party during her leadership, and Maimane has for a long time been accused of being Zille’s puppet.

That sort of thing gets under a person’s skin after a while, so trying to get rid of someone Zille brought into the party this way makes a kind of horrible sense.

  • Picture of Patricia de Lille courtesy of the DA via Flickr.
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