Wave of De Lille hate turns up the heat on a sticky Thursday

Ideas

Wave of De Lille hate turns up the heat on a sticky Thursday

Is this the end of the furore surrounding the mayor? Can the Mother City finally resume its smug existence? Maybe not

Cape Town bureau chief


There was a record amount of hot air in Cape Town yesterday, and not all of it emanated from the Patricia de Lille furore. The early summer heatwave was also to blame.
With luck and a bit less awful management by the DA, it will all soon be over – even the weather forecasters agree it will be cooler by the time De Lille leaves the mayoral office next Wednesday – and the Mother City can resume life as a smug and largely ignored anomaly at the toe-end of a tortured body.
Or maybe not. Because Natasha Mazzone still has privileged access to a DA e-mail account, and as De Lille’s hater-in-chief she couldn’t let the sun go down without venting.
In what bruised journalists prayed was the day’s final ejaculation of sound and fury signifying nothing, Mazzone said: “The extent of the governance breakdown in the City of Cape Town under De Lille has seen the city unnecessarily exposed to enormous future legal and financial risk, to the extent of billions of rands, as a result of the cancellation of fatally flawed and compromised tenders, both of which the mayor played a lead role in driving.”
Frankly, no one could be bothered to unravel that final horrible assault on syntax on a sticky Thursday that had seen more than its fair share of semi-literate vituperation.
It began with De Lille herself, rehashing the words we’ve heard so often in the past 19 months: smear, dismay, racist, bully, legal action, yawn (the last one was me).
Then the DA chief whip and four colleagues resigned in solidarity with De Lille and sat in a press conference where more hate was spewed, more rapidly, vehemently and repetitively, than anywhere since one of them, Shaun August, issued a 1,700-word diatribe half an hour earlier.
Mayoral committee member JP Smith, another of De Lille’s nemeses, joined in with a press conference of his own, then came a commendably brief statement from Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela. Maybe his propensity for uttering only one word where 20 normally do is the reason he isn’t going to be either mayor or premier.
Mayoral committee member Brett Herron was next, blessing the “debate” with 1,100 words of victimhood. Then Madikizela was back for the day’s penultimate action, yet another press conference at the Civic Centre, where Twigg said the council had accepted all the recommendations and conclusions law firm Bowman Gilfillan had reached after a 10-month investigation.
This means De Lille will be reported to the police (and the best of luck to the detectives who have to face her across a scratched table in a tiled room equipped with a smudged one-way mirror); transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead will face even more disciplinary charges than the ones that saw her suspended in January; and assorted other officials and politicians, including Herron, will find themselves shuffling nervously outside the headmaster’s door.
Will this be the end of the turmoil that began in July 2017 when Smith sent his dossier on De Lille’s deficiencies to the DA’s brains trust?
There’s a saying in journalism that the answer to every headline ending with a question mark is “No”, and the same applies here. For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly fearful.

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