Pressure mounts against De Lille as DA Cape Town caucus calls for her removal
Members of the Democratic Alliance’s Cape metro caucus say a lack of confidence in Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille’s leadership has led to the recommendation for her to be removed from her position.
The metro executive met yesterday where it expressed concern about De Lille’s fitness to continue leading the city and adopted a recommendation to have her unseated.
The recommendation will now be taken to the DA’s provincial and federal leadership, which will have to make a decision on how to act on the matter.
“The executive in Cape Town met and discussed the possibility and we felt that as the leader of the city of Cape Town we have lost confidence in her and we asked the leadership to consider our recommendations to have her removed,” said Cape metro regional chairperson Grant Twigg.
One of the main issues behind the move, Twigg said, was De Lille’s subsequent reaction to an independent investigation by law firm Bowman Gilfillan in which she was accused of attempting to cover up alleged corruption and tender fraud in the city.
“At the last council meeting, the DA caucus in council made a recommendation which council accepted and adopted in so far as the report of independent investigation ... for it to be accepted and she has gone as far as fighting that,” Twigg said.
The move by the Cape Town caucus has cast more uncertainty on De Lille’s future in the DA, which is currently running a separate, internal investigation into her conduct.
An internal party investigation led by parliamentary whip John Steenhuisen has probed allegations that De Lille mismanaged her caucus leading to rising tensions in the structure.
This weekend, the federal executive will consider De Lille’s submissions on the allegations made against her and will make a final decision on whether or not to force her to step down.
De Lille has accused the party of treating her unfairly and failing to follow due process and says she intends on taking legal action depending on the outcome of the federal executive meeting.
In a statement released shortly after Twigg’s announcement, De Lille challenged his claim that the DA in Cape Town had recommended her removal. She said that the DA caucus had never met, rendering Twigg’s statement moot.
“Secondly after this statement by Grant Twigg was issued I received numerous calls from members from various branches of the DA saying that they have never been consulted on this statement by the regional executive nor have they given them the mandate,” she said on Wednesday.
De Lille has now demanded that Twigg provide proof that a meeting took place when branches were consulted on the issue.
The mayor is confident that “many branches and members are not in support of this so-called motion”.
“This is yet another example of the flagrant disregard for process within the DA in their rush to get rid of me and make Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela the next executive mayor,” she said.
“It illustrates my previous position that these attacks on me have been about power and positions all along.”
Speculation has mounted that Madikizela, the DA leader in the Western Cape, has been pegged as a favourite for Cape Town mayor by Helen Zille.
The DA’s federal executive is set to meet at the weekend.