/ 25 January 2019

De Lille still miffed by DA’s actions

Patricia de Lille’s new party
Patricia de Lille’s new party, Good, may disrupt the Democratic Alliance’s hold on the Western Cape if it forms a coalition with other opposition parties. (Esa Alexander/Business Day/Gallo Images)

Patricia de Lille, the former Cape Town mayor and now leader of Good, says she still has unfinished business with the Democratic Alliance, and some pundits believe she could be the Western Cape kingmaker in the 2019 elections.

Last weekend she announced her party’s national leaders and elaborated on policy proposals. Shaun August, the former DA chief whip in the Cape Town city council, is Good’s national co-ordinator and a former DA mayoral committee member, Brett Herron, is the party’s general secretary. Both resigned from the DA when De Lille quit the party and as mayor in October last year.

Now the political firebrand could be seeking to exact revenge on her former political home should she run for the post of Western Cape premier.

When she resigned, De Lille said she would be keen to run for premier of the province but, this week, she said she had taken a step back because it was a decision for her party’s leadership to make.

“The national leadership committee will put a plan in place to deal with the actual lists and it’s the collective that will make a decision. So we are not at that stage yet,” she said.

Although the DA still enjoys strong support in the province, this election could be a watershed, with the possibility that no single party will gain a clear majority.

Opposition parties say they plan to bring the DA below 50% in the provincial legislature, and the chance of De Lille being the kingmaker is increasingly being seen as a possibility.

“There are some indications that there is a possibility that no political party will get a clear majority,” De Lille said. “The trends are going that way. For the Good movement, we are going out to reach as many voters as possible across the country, including the Western Cape. And when elections come, coalition governments have become part of the strategy of our democracy.”

She said, before she left the DA, she asked a company to determine her popularity and the results were positive. “The Ipsos research I have done was to check my own [brand] recognition in the country. And also the other question was if I should start a political party. I’m doing another research that will go out the end of January where I am now going to check the popularity of this party and if people are going to vote for this idea.”

She said it would be her party’s decision whether it could form a coalition government with the DA.

“I still have a pending court case with the DA. I have been successful in clearing my name and protecting my good name from them. For two years, they have dehumanised me. They were so hell-bent to get rid of me. So when I made my announcement I made it clear: ‘God, forgive the fools, because they know not what they’re doing.’ ”

De Lille said the Good movement might consider the option of going into opposition in the Western Cape legislature.

A political analyst at the University of Cape Town’s politics department, Sanusha Naidu, said De Lille’s confidence showed she was ready to play a critical role in the architecture of the Western Cape’s electoral landscape.

“I think it’s important to understand how all this will affect voters who are apathetic to the DA. And also consider those voters she took with her when she left the party. Her performance at the polls will be testimony [for what] she has been claiming, like the DA’s internal contradictions of transformation in the DA. And, of course, De Lille’s own internal battles with the party.”

Naidu added that De Lille might not verbalise it but she was ready to take on her former political home.

Only the DA and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) have announced premier candidates for the province.Community safety MEC Alan Winde is the DA’s choice and political journeyman Peter Marais has been announced as the FF+’s pick.

The ANC said it won’t be putting up a premier candidate, preferring President Cyril Ramaphosa to be the face of their campaign in the Western Cape.