De Lille won't be starting new party (yet)

Pan Africanist Congress MP Patricia de Lille said on Monday she has neither the funds nor the human resource capacity to start a new political party in South Africa.

She was reacting to news reports that she was prepared to lead a strong opposition party. The Afrikaans Beeld newspaper reported on Monday that De Lille

had told Sunday’s launch of a new television programme in Johannesburg that the PAC was dead and that “she and the party have failed”.

“If the PAC cannot put things right in the country, then I must make another plan,” she reportedly said.

Her comments again fuelled speculation that with floor-crossing legislation about to be enacted at national level and the 2004 election around the corner, De Lille might be poised to form her own party.

But in a statement aimed at “putting the record straight”, De Lille said South Africa had come to know her as someone who always spoke her mind.

“In the process of speaking my mind, I have often been misquoted by mischievous journalists, vilified by political opponents and even been threatened with death by some insignificant others.”

De Lille said she had made certain statements on Sunday night regarding the state of democracy in South Africa. “Many of the things I said last night, I have said before and will continue to do so ...
as long as I perceive important national issues to be out of kilter.”

It was a fact that opposition politics was in a mess, De Lille said.

“It is a fact that the egos of leaders of political parties are more important than the people they purport to represent. This is evidenced by how disjointed opposition parties function here at Parliament on important national issues.”

It was also a fact that South Africa was losing the battle against HIV and Aids because of the government and President Thabo Mbeki’s attitude towards the pandemic, Moreover, corruption and greed had pervaded the highest echelons of power.

De Lille acknowledged that the PAC had experienced leadership crises for some time, stretching back to former president Clarence Makwetu.

“Despite the PAC suffering leadership problems, I have never said that the PAC is dead. That will be a reflection on the principles I hold dear.” De Lille said she had not formed a political party despite “it being true that many ordinary South Africans have been asking me to do so for a long time now”.

“Let me repeat what I have said in the past, namely that such an exercise will require a huge amount of money and great deal of highly experienced people. The sheer logistics of such an exercise dictates that one has to carefully recruit a large number of skilled people and even more carefully raise huge amounts of money. To date I have neither the money nor the people.”

De Lille said it appeared that Naspers, the media group which published Beeld and Rapport newspapers, was intent on fuelling

“this wild fire”.

Just days ago she was asked by a Rapport journalist about a new political party that she and actress Sandra Prinsloo were supposed to be forming. “The fact is that Sandra had asked me to speak about the state of opposition politics in South Africa on her new TV programme, which I have done and where these statements (reported by Beeld newspaper) were made.” - Sapa

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