Axed Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille has accused Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane of leading the fight to oust her as head of the city and as a party member.
She said in an interview this week that Maimane had failed to ensure that she was treated fairly during her protracted battle with the party. It had become clear that he was among those leading the push to drive her from the party, according to the former mayor.
“We have drifted apart because it was clear that the leader [Maimane] was leading the fight against me, which I also feel was wrong for a leader. Because a leader should be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
She accused him of standing by and watching what she believed was a “desperate” plot waged against her gradually unfolding in the DA. She called his actions “hurtful”.
“Where it hurts, and it surely does hurt … is that he failed me in making sure that due process and the constitution of the party is applied to me in a fair manner,” De Lille said.
She has approached the high court in Cape Town to suspend the party’s decision to rescind her membership and she will learn the outcome of this on Friday.
De Lille was stripped of her membership of the party on Tuesday because of an interview she had two weeks earlier, in which she had said she would leave the DA if she cleared her name of the corruption allegations levelled against her.
De Lille is challenging the party’s interpretation of the constitutional clause used to axe her. She also wants to know why she is being blamed for the DA’s reputational damage.
“Here is a perfect example of cutting [off] your nose to spite your face,” she said, “because all the people who are attacking the DA-led government in Cape Town are DA members.
“So DA members are pulling down their own government just because they’re trying to get to me. And then they want to accuse me of damaging the party? “They are so blind; they don’t care about the DA government. And it’s just become so fashionable to blame Patricia for everything.”
Although the public continues to demand more transparency about the DA’s treatment of De Lille, there are fears that the matter will affect the party at the polls both in the Western Cape and nationally.
The party has admitted that it foresees that the drawn-out battle with De Lille will have an effect on voters.
De Lille said she was unwilling to back down for the sake of maintaining peace and in support of the DA’s electoral ambitions.
“Never. Never. I have worked very hard to become a household name in this country,” she said. “It didn’t come just because people know who I am. And no money can buy your reputation and integrity. My name has become synonymous in this country with fighting corruption, so who the hell are you [the DA, to accuse me of corruption]?”
De Lille was the whistle-blower in the multibillion-rand arms acquisition project plagued by corruption.
Maimane was not available to comment.