De Lille moves in for de kill as the DA is outmanoeuvred ... again
Just before she was to face a vote of no confidence, she reached an agreement that sees her remain as mayor
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille outmanoeuvered the DA – again – as she fought to keep hold of her mayoral chains.
In an agreement reached on Wednesday night between De Lille and her party, with whom she has been embattled for months now, the DA yielded to her request that her disciplinary hearings be open to the media.
De Lille seemed to have called the party’s bluff over whether or not they actually had the numbers inside the Cape Town city council to boot her from her position during a motion of no confidence scheduled to take place against her on Thursday morning.
Instead the motion was withdrawn in the wake of the Wednesday night agreement – in exchange for her facing the DA’s disciplinary council over allegations of maladministration and nepotism brought against her by her fellow DA councillors.
DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe wore a somber face as he sat on a wooden stage inside the Banquet Hall of the Cape Town Civic Centre following a lengthy DA caucus meeting. His posture and expressions were contrasted by a confident-looking De Lille, who told Times Select that Wednesday’s agreement was best for her and the party.“I’m just happy that now we can proceed following due process and get this episode over as fast as possible. It is for the benefit for the party and myself that we have this disciplinary hearing and get it over and done with as soon as possible,” said De Lille.
The DA said the “speedy” hearing would be held over three days in August.
“In addition‚ the agreement makes space for the mayor to be held accountable in a fair and reasonable manner for findings of independent council-led investigations‚ such as the upcoming Bowman’s report into her conduct‚” DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi and federal council deputy chairperson Natasha Mazzone said in a statement.
They were referring to an investigation by law firm Bowman Gilfillan‚ commissioned by the City of Cape Town‚ into allegations of misconduct against De Lille.
Malatsi and Mazzone added: “Upon mayor De Lille’s insistence‚ the party will appoint a federal legal commission panel‚ and the prosecution will be led by an independent senior prosecutor and will be open to the media.“This agreement states that we will all strive to conclude the matter as soon as possible.”
The row about holding De Lille’s disciplinary hearing in public has been going on since March.
At the time, the mayor said: “My lawyers have emphasised to the party that I can only restore my reputation if the public is able to view and assess for themselves whether the process is fair.
“The party‚ however‚ wants a closed hearing and‚ quite ironically‚ it is Ms Glynnis Breytenbach‚ who fought for her own disciplinary hearing to be open when she was at the National Prosecuting Authority‚ who is now leading the fight for a secret hearing.”
Breytenbach‚ who chairs the DA federal legal commission‚ told TimesLIVE at the time: “It is unfortunate that Ms de Lille refers to me in person because‚ of course‚ it was not me in person‚ it is the party’s stance. I represent the party.”
De Lille also said at the time she had not been charged with corruption and the bulk of the charges against her “concern allegations of highly technical transgressions which do not involve me at all‚ other than the contention that as the ‘boss’ of the city I should be held liable”.
Her detractors in the party claim that the DA caucus would have had the numbers to vote her out this time, after she barely avoided being removed in a motion of no confidence in February.
That motion was originally brought forward by the ANC, who abandoned it when they realised that the DA caucus was going to vote with them – and they then ended up voting against the motion, which saw the mayor staying on by one vote.Xolani Sotashe‚ ANC leader in the City of Cape Town‚ said he was not surprised Thursday’s motion had been withdrawn.
“It was expected. They were scared and not sure of their numbers‚” he said.
DA counsel Sean Rosenberg‚ arguing in De Lille’s successful court action against the party’s so-called “cessation clause” in June, said that the mayor was “stonewalling” the disciplinary process‚ as a result of which it could take a “number of years”.
Others accused her of trying to stall the disciplinary process.
“They are entitled to their opinion but it’s wrong of them to use their opinion to try and think for me and speak for me. I’m quite capable to speak for myself and therefore I will not even respond to what feelings or opinions they have,” De Lille responded.
“We will follow due process in terms of the federal legal commission of the DA. I never want to be treated any different to any other member in the party. We’re all subject to those processes and systems."