De Lille vote: 'Expect a lot of surprises'
The ANC set to throw its vote behind Cape Town mayor in motion of no confidence
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille faces a fresh motion of no confidence on Thursday and some of her opponents believe this time she will be shown the door.
The ANC in the city council, however, is expected to throw not only its vote behind the mayor they once tried to oust themselves but has now also launched a motion of no confidence to oust speaker Dirk Smit.
A senior member of the DA caucus in the City told Times Select that several councillors who supported De Lille in a motion of no confidence against her in February, which she won by one vote, are primed to turn their vote against her.
“The motion against Patricia, I think the figures sit very close to where they were last time. It’s still slightly more than 70% of the caucus. She has no legitimacy in the caucus, 70% do not want her as leader, she’s now no longer our leader, she’s now our boss,” said the source.
“I think she’s lost support in the caucus because of her strong-arm tactics ... I think the vote may have shifted by 10 or so, but it’s impossible to guess.“The action against the speaker is just a disruptive action because if they oust him we’ll just vote him back in,” said the DA source.
But De Lille’s political rivals within the DA are worried that her supporters in the city council will collude with the ANC to get rid of the speaker.
The council is set to debate the motions on Thursday and the ANC is arguing that Smit erred during the council’s passage of resolutions to strip the embattled mayor of several powers earlier this year amid previous moves to oust her.
DA insiders now say they suspect De Lille’s supporters may have cut a deal with the ANC as they did earlier this year when rebel DA councillors voted with opposition parties to block a previous motion of no confidence on the mayor.
“They are making the same deal as the last time, but we are hoping some of the councillors who were not present on the day will be around next week,” said one source.
De Lille denied knowledge of any deal with the ANC.
“I can assure you that I have not lobbied anybody to support me for the motion because this motion has not come to caucus. It’s only when the caucus agrees that this motion can proceed that it will go ahead,” she added.ANC leader Xolani Sotashe also denied that they had struck a deal with De Lille’s supporters, saying they approached matters in the council on an “issue-to-issue” basis.
Smit said he was surprised by the ANC motion as he had received praises from different parties, including the ANC.
“This is the first motion of no confidence in 42 years against me since I became a representative of my constituency,” he said.
A DA leader, who is part of the party’s Cape Metro leadership, said even if Smit could be voted out at the meeting, it would be difficult for dissenting DA councillors to vote for a replacement candidate not from their party.
“Yes, because of the court judgment on a motion of no confidence, they can vote with the opposition but that judgment is only limited on motions. They will have no choice but to vote for our candidate for a new speaker and we might just field Smit again,” said the insider.
A DA councillor who is a De Lille supporter said the public should expect a lot of surprises this week.
“We feel very strong with regards to the mayor’s issue. It’s based on principle and we have taken a conscious decision. Our bloc is strong and our bloc has grown,” said the insider.
He said they lost confidence in Smit when he refused to allow a secret ballot during the last motion of no confidence.
“He has pushed and was part of the group that took the powers of the mayor away. He misled people, saying he had a legal opinion only to find out that the legal opinion is from 2013,” added the insider.
Another insider opposed to De Lille said they met last week to craft the motion on De Lille.
“We heard that they [De Lille’s supporters] also met in Durbanville to come up with a plan to counter our motion,” said the insider.