De Lille announces new party to contest 2019 elections

'I really have got enough energy left. It is time for a new political order in South Africa, says Patricia de Lille at a briefing in Cape Town on Sunday. (David Harrison/M&G)

'I really have got enough energy left. It is time for a new political order in South Africa, says Patricia de Lille at a briefing in Cape Town on Sunday. (David Harrison/M&G)

On Sunday, former Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille confirmed speculation that she is launching her own political party following her resignation as the mayor of Cape Town and a member of the DA at the end of October.

The party will contest the 2019 elections in all nine provinces, she said.

While the party has yet to be launched, a website has already been set up under the name “For Good”. In her announcement, De Lille encouraged South Africans to “do good” and said that hers would be a party that “stands for good in the country”.

The party’s official launch will be in January 2019, De Lille confirmed.

The name of the party has yet to be made public De Lille said, as her team is still doing “research to test the collateral of the name”.

De Lille revealed, however, that the name of her former party — the Independent Democrats — is being tested as a potential name, as well as a “new name” she is considering. It is the first indication that the former mayor might be reviving the ID — which is still registered as a political party with the Electoral Commission of South Africa.

De Lille said that she had already referred to global marketing giant Ipsos to research whether support existed for her and a new political party. She said that the survey indicated that support did exist.

“I am ready to continue to serve my country under a new political movement and I have made the decision based on information and evidence,” De Lille said.

In her announcement, the former mayor spoke extensively on the legacy of apartheid and how her focus would be addressing the imbalances created by the past — including apartheid spatial planning in Cape Town, which has meant that most black people still live on the outskirts of the city, rather than in close proximity to economic opportunity.

READ MORE: Brett Herron resigns from DA claiming party blocked affordable housing

De Lille also took this opportunity to take aim at the DA, saying she is ready to take the party on, and that the DA should not be allowed to challenge the progress made by those who fought against apartheid. 

READ MORE: De Lille lays fraud, defamation charges against DA members

In recent weeks, councillors in the Cape who have left the DA have accused the party of racism. These councillors are also expected to join De Lille’s new party. So far, at least nine councillors — including De Lille — have resigned from the DA.

De Lille did not confirm if all the resigned councillors would join her party, but said it would be their choice. She said that volunteers have been working on the project for some time, readying to make the announcement.

“We were underground, now we can come above board,” she said.

The party, she said, is currently unpacking its policy positions in consultation with members of the youth, who she said the party has been working with.

But, from her announcement on Sunday, it appears that overcoming the legacy of apartheid will be a core foundation of De Lille’s campaign. She said that she expected the DA will launch a “dirty tricks” campaign to “discredit” her, but her party is ready to win, even though a coalition might be a possibility.

“We are going all out to win. As you can see coalition politics has become the norm in our country, but for now we are in it to win,” De Lille said.

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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