De Lille might revive ID, despite the ‘idiots’
But first, after quitting as Cape Town mayor, and the DA, she says she has some scores to settle
What outgoing Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille intends to do after handing back the mayoral chain on Wednesday remains anyone’s guess.
But judging by the political veteran’s utterances following her resignation, she is not against starting another political party or reviving her old one, the Independent Democrats.
De Lille, who addressed journalists on the steps of the High Court in Cape Town, was joined by two other councillors who resigned from the party and council in solidarity. De Lille said more councillors were set to quit.
“Despite the efforts to tarnish my name, I remain resolute to serve my country in whatever capacity, because I know the truth will prevail,” she said.
“I will now take two weeks’ leave [and] consult with my family, and will make an announcement as to what I am going to do with the next phase of my life. This is certainly a bend in my career, but is certainly not the end of my career.
“Those idiots who have continued to tarnish my name in public, I will clear my name in public and will make sure I invest whatever little money I have to make sure that I clear my name. I am also resigning as a member of the Democratic Alliance.”
Earlier, De Lille’s lawyers filed court papers challenging the City of Cape Town’s acceptance of a report from law firm Bowman Gilfillan that led to a criminal charge against her.
Five DA councillors resigned from the city and the party at De Lille’s final council meeting last week.
De Lille accused the law firm of colluding with politicians. She said the city had already paid Bowmans R5m and the city manager had recently approved another R822,000.
“So they are really eating the money of the ratepayers in the City of Cape Town,” said De Lille. “I am determined to clear my name and I have been successful with three high court judgments in my favour already. So it is my long walk to freedom. After 18 months, I am free from oppression.”
She then laid into DA leader Mmusi Maimane and described the party as “leaderless”. She announced the resignations of councillors Jonathan Cupido and Philiswa Marman. Cupido, who represents ward 31 (Bonteheuwel), is the first ward councillor to resign, and his decision will result in a by-election.
Asked if she would consider reviving the Independent Democrats if its former members pleaded with her to do so, De Lille said: “In fact, there is a campaign in the DA to target all those ID members in the Democratic Alliance. Lots of them are unhappy. I have said to them, ‘Give me space’. In the next two weeks I will decide what to do with my future, then we can talk.”
Natasha Mazzone, the deputy chairperson of the DA federal council, said the party welcomed De Lille’s resignation.
“Any dispute Patricia de Lille may have about these council processes is purely a matter between the city and the outgoing mayor. However, it needs to be stated unambiguously that there was absolutely no political interference of any kind in what was always an independent, council-led process. Any attempt to claim otherwise is also untrue,” said Mazzone.
“As a party, we are proud that we stand almost alone in holding our public representatives to the highest possible standard of conduct – we hold everyone in the DA accountable for their actions, no matter their popularity or history. It is clear that people have long forgotten what political accountability looks like in practice. The DA had no choice to hold Ms De Lille accountable and we will never apologise for doing so."
Mazzone added: “The mayor-elect of Cape Town, Dan Plato, will now work to fix the damage done to governance systems in the City of Cape Town, restore the highest level of service delivery and, most especially, focus on leading the fight against crime and gangsterism, unemployment and improving services in all parts of the city.
“We will make sure that Cape Town goes back to being the shining light in South Africa – a bastion of clean, accountable and effective government.”
Plato will be sworn in as a councillor at 10.30am on Thursday.